Walk and Bike to School Events
Walk and bike to school events are planned activities designed to enhance and support SRTS programs by providing a specific occasion to involve students in walking or biking to school. These events are not only fun ways to get students and parents excited about walking and biking but they also enable students to learn the benefits of walking and biking to school and begin fostering a culture of active transportation to school. Some examples of walk and bike events include:
Walking School Bus – Adults supervise groups of children as they walk designated routes to school and pick up kids along the way.
Walk to School Parade – Kids & parents meet at a specific location to walk to school together.
Bike Train – A group of children bike to school together accompanied by adult supervision.
Bike Rodeo – A fun event that provides children with a basic understanding of effective cycling through stations that teach bicycling skills and educate about bike safety and rules of the road.
Campus Walks/Walk at School – If conditions are unsafe for walking to school, campus walks or a walk at school event like a walk-a-thon can be held.
Walk and bike to school events benefit everyone!
Promote Healthy Lifestyles – integrates physical activity, helping students and adults incorporate walking and biking into a daily routine.
Strengthen the Community – neighbors have an opportunity to interact with each other while walking and biking to school, forging a stronger sense of community.
Raise Environmental Awareness – walking and biking to school results in fewer vehicles on the streets, thereby reducing air pollution and traffic congestion.
Foster Safer Streets – focus on improving street and sidewalk conditions and security throughout the community increases when there is more pedestrian and bicycle movement.
Promote Walking and Biking Safely – children learn life skills from adults accompanying them on walks, helping them to develop road safety and personal awareness skills.
Increase School Spirit – children and adultsunite and celebrate the event while taking pride in what they are doing.
Help to Kick-Start an SRTS Program – often when students and their parents try walking and bicycling, they see how fun and easy it is, as well as what needs to be done to make school route conditions better and safer.
Here are more Reasons to Participate in Walk to School Events (PDF).
Planners – A leader is essential, someone who is willing and able to begin the process and take charge by getting others involved and forming a team. (Click Build your Safe Routes Team for more information.) The team can include parents, teachers, principals, local community groups, etc. Keep your team small until you are ready to build up and designate tasks to additional team members.
Participants – Students, parents, teachers, school staff, law enforcement, mayors, council members, local celebrities, community organizations and many more can take part. Invite the media to promote and share your big day. Involve local politicians and encourage sponsors for the event.
Facilitators – You can contact your SRTS Regional Coordinator for assistance. There are also organizations that can help you with your walk and bike to school event such as the NJ Bicycle and Pedestrian Resource Center. Click SRTS Advisory Groups for a list of contacts that may be beneficial in planning and running your event.
Walk and Bike to School Month in October – October marks Walk to School Month in New Jersey. International Walk to School Day (iwalk) takes place on the first Wednesday of October and is celebrated in over 40 countries by millions of walking participants. However, walk and bike to school events can take many forms, and can be held any time throughout the school year.
NJ Walk and Bike to School Week in May – The Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation named the 4th week in May as New Jersey’s official walk and bike to school week.
Walk and Bike to School Anytime! – Walk and bike to school events can be held throughout the school year. Some schools have designated the first Wednesday of every month as “Walking Wednesday”. Others have chosen to promote walking and biking to school on holidays or in conjunction with school functions. Halloween is an exciting day for children to parade to school in their costumes. Walking to the polls on Election Day has also become popular. Earth Day (in April) is a great time to promote walking and biking to school while celebrating the environment. May is Bike Month and bike rodeos can be held on early dismissal days when students can choose to participate in activities rather than go home early.
Keep in mind for planning when to hold the event:
(1) Plan early. These types of events take time to plan in order to be successful. Begin planning in the spring for an event held in the fall.
(2) Do not worry about the weather if it rains. Prove that you can walk to school any day and in all kinds of conditions.
Contact your SRTS Regional Coordinator for help with planning a walk and bike event in your community.