Walk to School Day: Safety First


Safety is the priority for any Walk, Bike & Roll to School Day event. Follow these steps to plan for a safe event by selecting the best route and working with the community. For more information see the specific resources for pedestrian and bicycle safety below.

Including Safety in the Event

Find the safest route to school by looking for:
  • Places to walk or roll that are separated from traffic. Choose sidewalks or paths wherever possible, even if that means the trip will take a little longer.
    • If there are no sidewalks or paths, walk as far from motor vehicles as possible, on the side of the street facing traffic.
  • Places to cross (if necessary)
    • Minimize the number of street crossings.
    • Avoid busy, high-speed or multi-lane roads, wherever possible.
    • When available, cross at a location with an adult school crossing guard.
  • Pedestrian- and bike-friendly drivers
    • Look for places where drivers are paying attention, yielding to pedestrians and cyclists and respecting speed limits.
Working with a town or city transportation department

A local traffic engineer or public works official could also offer helpful input regarding complex routes.

Working with law enforcement

While law enforcement officers have been involved in many Walk & Roll to School Day and Bike & Roll to School Day events in the past, individual communities and schools need to understand their families’ preferences in having law enforcement present for an event. For some community members, negative experiences with law enforcement mean that they may not feel comfortable with any level of law enforcement involvement. For others, law enforcement involvement in Walk & Roll to School Day and Bike & Roll to School Day events can help build trust and open dialogue.

Working with the school and the community

Before the event, talk to the principal and other members of the planning team to identify potential issues and how to address them. Potential safety concerns that may be mentioned include:

  • Routes that don’t have places to walk that are separated from traffic
  • Routes that require crossing streets without adequate crossings
  • The need for helmet use

These issues don’t have to be event-stoppers, but they will certainly influence the event’s structure. Whether the concerns are real or perceived, they should be addressed so that students, families and leaders feel comfortable. Often, events are used to prompt bigger conversations about how to address any barriers that get in the way of children walking and bicycling to school safely on a regular basis.  If routes are missing sidewalks or if there’s a park that would make a great connector to a nearby neighborhood but it doesn’t feel safe, there’s a two-fold approach: 1. Make a plan for the event. 2. Use the event to bring attention to safety concerns that need to be addressed so that students can walk on a regular basis.

Pedestrian Safety

Students need to know pedestrian safety skills.  Information in the resources below can be taught in the classroom or sent home with students to practice skills with their families. Ideally they get several opportunities to practice what they learn with adults who can provide feedback and supervision.


Bike Safety

Teaching students safe biking skills is a key part of starting a bicycling program. The information in the resources below can be taught at school, or sent home with students to practice skills with their families. Ideally students get chances to hear and practice the information several times with adults who can provide feedback and supervision.

Bicycle Safety Resources


Micromobility includes modes such as scooters and skateboards in addition to bicycles. For a general guide on micromobility, see this fact sheet from the Federal Highway Administration. Below are resources on other modes that students may use to get to school as well as recommendations on the use of motorized devices.

For further resources on micromobility visit the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.

Original Source: https://www.walkbiketoschool.org/plan/how-to-plan/safety-first/