Form a community group
Want to start making your community safe for kids to walk and bike? Get together with other concerned parents in your neighborhood. Working together, there are many ways to help keep kids safe.
- Make your group agenda part of an existing group
If your area has a neighborhood association or a neighborhood watch group, this might be a good place to both find concerned parents like yourself and to piggyback on the group’s existing meeting schedule to spread the word. If you can have your Safe Routes to School concerns on their agenda, you’ll be likely to find helpful allies who want to make the same changes you do.
- Make neighbors aware of your Safe Routes initiatives
Everyone in the area will benefit from healthier kids and safer walking/biking routes. Let your neighbors know what your group is trying to accomplish by distributing flyers, holding a block party, or sending a personal letter to residents on the route. These neighbors can help you accomplish your Safe Routes to School goals by keeping their sidewalks clear and safe for travel by children. They can also be available to help children who might need it on their way to and from school.
- Turn your neighborhood into a safe walking zone
Post signs that let drivers know that children are around. Police departments in most areas provide these signs free of charge. You and your group can also design your own signs and have them professionally printed.
- Take turns monitoring the route
Let each member of the group take turns walking the route at the times when children will be traveling to and from school. Establishing a regular adult presence on the route will help encourage kids to maintain safe biking and walking practices as well as ask for help when needed.
- Organize park and walk stops
If your neighborhood is too far from school for children to reasonably walk, get together with other parents to form a park and walk partnership. You and the other parents can take turns carpooling children to a spot that’s close enough to the school for the kids to walk safely, but far away enough to give them some good exercise. Park and walk stops are great because they give parents control over what type of route their children take.
- Start walking busses or bike trains
On a walking school bus, a parent sets out and stops at the homes of children to “pick them up.” This way, children are walking to school in a supervised group. This is an ideal option for younger children. A bike train applies the same concept to bike riders. Parents can take turns running these activities, or a few designated parents can handle it every day.
- Educate drivers near the school
Either as volunteer crossing guards or sign posters, your group can help ensure that people driving near your child’s school are driving safely. Consider putting on a neighborhood seminar about safe driving practices when children are around or just discussing the importance of your group’s Safe Routes initiatives.
- Join another group
The PTA and the school board are excellent places to have your Safe Routes to School ideas heard. There you’ll find connections that can help you take your concerns to governmental officials who may help you make large-scale changes.