plans for sick or absent drivers, and liability issues are all addressed. This level of organization can be comforting to parents and students who take part. However, creating a formal Walking School Bus may seem too great a task for a parent interested in getting one started. A Walking School Bus does not need to be so formal. Remember -- it can be as simple as a few families walking their children to school together.
4. Adapting the bus to include bikers
Some communities have built upon their Walking School Bus success by expanding their programs to include kids riding bikes. A Bike Train operates much like a Walking School Bus but is aimed at students who have “aged” out of the walking program and would rather ride to school. Just as a Walking School Bus can teach pedestrian safety skills, a Bike Train can help kids learn bike safety. The Lebanon School District in Hunterdon County has incorporated biking into its walking school bus program. Students in the 4th grade and older receive bike safety education through presentations and videos, all riders must have their bikes pass a safety inspection, and parents must sign an agreement. And, of course, riders must wear a helmet. All bikes are registered and sporadically inspected to ensure a safe trip. In a Bike Train, one adult cyclist for every three to six children is recommended.
While it may take a bit of time and some planning to get a Walking School Bus started, the benefits can well outweigh the effort spent working out the logistics. Students who participate in a Walking School Bus can get to know caring adults who support kids. Parents can feel comfortable letting their children walk knowing that they are in a group being supervised by adults. While walking to school, kids can spend some time with their friends, make new ones, and feel like