Safe Routes Scoop
Get on the Walking Bus

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

they are part of a worthwhile activity. And perhaps best of all, it enables kids to learn life skills and encourages them to adopt walking as a life-long activity.

 

For more information:

 

National Center for Safe Routes to School

The Walking School Bus: Combining Safety, Fun and the Walk to School

http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/guide/

walking_school_bus/pdf/wsb_guide.pdf

 

New Jersey Department of Transportation
Safe Routes to School Overview
http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/

community/srts/

 

Mayors Wellness Campaign
Youth in Motion: Safe Routes to School
http://www.mayorswellnesscampaign.org/

index.php?option=com_content&task=

view&id=110&Itemid=121

 

Walking School Bus Training - April 17th

Safe Kids Middlesex County and NJDOT will hold a free NJ Walking School Bus Training on Thursday April 17, 2008 from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm at the Robert N. Wilentz Elementary School in Perth Amboy. Everyone is welcome. Space is limited. For more information or to RSVP please contact Leigh Ann Von Hagen at srts@rci.rutgers.edu or 732-932-6812 ext. 613.

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