(Photo credit: Safe Routes Partnership)
The month of August is Back to School Safety Month and also the beginning of the school year for many students across California. As the school year kicks off, it’s the perfect time to try walking, biking, or rolling to school while we enjoy the last days of summer. To help get students, parents, caregivers and school administration prepared and excited to safely walk, bike, and roll to school, we’ve compiled a list of resources and safety tips below.
The Active Transportation Resource Center (ATRC) kicks off a series of train-the-trainer sessions in August and September for those interested in learning how to train and vet potential new and existing Crossing Guards. Crossing Guards provide an invaluable resource for schoolchildren and their safety as they navigate to and from school. You can find the dates and more information on ATRC’s site.
The Global Designing Cities Initiative (GDCI) just launched a free 12-week online training that focuses on how to design safe and comfortable streets for kids, and provides the tools for how to implement children- and caregiver-focused street design projects. All training content is available in Albanian, English, Georgian, Spanish, and Portuguese. The training is self-guided and takes place from August 29 - November 21, 2022. You can register online today!
Safety messaging campaigns are a great way to bring awareness to the larger school community on how to incentivize students to walk, bike, and roll to school. They are also an easy way to create a culture that prioritizes the safety of students walking, biking, and rolling to school. You can find posters, videos, safety handouts and more on the Go Safely California’s Media Toolkits page.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration compiled a School-Transportation-Related Crashes Fact Sheet that reviews collision data between 2011 and 2020 that included a motor vehicle traffic crash that directly or indirectly involved a school transportation vehicle. Transportation professionals and school administrators can use this fact sheet to plan out safety plans for pick-up and drop-off at schools.
Whether you’re looking to bolster an existing Safe Routes to School program or create one from scratch, the California Active Transportation Safety Information Pages’ (CATSIP) Safe Routes to School guides and toolkits is a perfect resource hub for all your needs. You will find guides and toolkits on topics such as launching a school safety valet program, how to start a walking school bus, and more.
In 2021, the Safe Routes Partnership compiled a resource hub for all things back to school. This resource page provides key messaging, real-time resources, and Zoom discussion sessions to prepare for the return to school, whether in-person, hybrid, or virtual. You can find these resources on their Back 2 School page.
Every two years, the Safe Route Partnership develops state report cards that provide a snapshot of how supportive a state is of those walking, biking, and rolling to school and other community assets. States are graded in four key areas: Complete Streets and Active Transportation Policy and Planning, Federal and State Active Transportation Funding, Safe Routes to School Funding and Supportive Practices, and Active Neighborhoods and Schools. California, as a whole, scored 164 out of 200 for the 2022 State Report Card period, coming in first alongside Massachusetts. You can see the full report and more here.
Back to School Safety Tips
As young walkers, bikers, and rollers head to school, explore these links to keep them safe: