New to Safe Routes
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is all about creating safe, convenient, and fun opportunities to bicycle, walk, scoot and skate to and from school. This is important for the health and safety of our kids and the community.
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs often start with encouragement programs to get people to try walking or biking to school. Starting with a simple fun event that builds interest and enthusiasm will attract attention and support for more activities, more people and ultimately, behavior change.
As a parent, you may want to consult this flyer from ODOT to determine if your child is ready to travel to school on their own.
It's all about having fun!
We want to get people to try walking or biking to school, see how fun and easy it is! Starting with a simple, fun event that builds interest and enthusiasm.
Walk+ Bike to School Day- October 2, 2019
Earth Day- April 22, 2020
Walk + Bike Challenge Month- May
Bike to School Day- May 6, 2020
Newsletter Articles to Use
We made the following newsletters to help schools keep active transportation, health, safety and fun on the top of everyone’s mind throughout the year. Please feel free to use anything, edit to make it applicable to your school and post where most appropriate.
Gear Up Now for School!
As you and your family prepare to go back to school, take the time to thoughtfully plan your commute — by foot, bike or school bus if your student is eligible. Here’s how to start:
• If offered bus service, know where the stop is, your route to the stop and where to safely wait for the bus.
• Find your school’s preferred walk/bike map under each school listing on this website to find the locations of sidewalks or low-volume roads, crosswalks and traffic signals, crossing guards, bike racks and the safest way to the school entrance. Practice walking or biking the route!
• If possible, talk with friends and neighbors to plan to walk together. Does your school have a Walking School Bus? That’s a group of students that meet at a designated time and location and walk to school together, led by volunteer chaperones. Start one on your own, or let your school administrator, Green Team coordinator or parent-teacher organization you are interested in joining/starting one!
• If you need to drive, talk to your neighbors about starting a carpool. Or think about driving to a spot a few blocks from the school and letting your child safely walk from there for some exercise and confidence-building.
Welcome Back to School!
The new school year is the perfect time for students and families to start creating healthy, fun and safe habits. Safety is everyone’s responsibility! Here are some reminders as we travel to and from school:
• Keep your eyes and ears open for traffic all around.
• If driving, slow down to 20 mph or less in school zones and neighborhood streets.
• Check for safety at all intersections, in bike lanes and follow the directions from crossing guards.
• Remember to be alert and mindful of all road users (no texting; be aware of school zones) especially when we’re in a rush. We all want to get someplace fast, but safety for our children is our top priority — and takes all of our efforts.
Be sure to mark your calendar for Wednesday, October 2, 2019 — International Walk+Bike to School Day! Let’s see how many people we can get walking and rolling. Stay tuned for more details.
Wednesday October 2nd is International Walk + Bike to School Day
Wednesday, Oct. 2 is International Walk + Bike to School Day. We also call it Walk+Roll Day, to celebrate all types of active transportation — biking as well as riding scooters, skateboards and more. It’s great for us, our kids and it’s great for the community. Here are five top reasons:
1. Fewer vehicles reduces reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions near schools and in school parking lots.
2. More people on foot and bike builds school community and boosts awareness of all road users around schools.
3. Physical activity boosts kids’ readiness to learn and brings long-lasting health benefits.
4. Kids have fun with their friends and bond with their families while walking or rolling together.
5. Being outside builds independence, resilience and lifelong transportation skills. If your child would like to walk to school with a volunteer-led group to school, join in a Walking School Bus or ask your administrator or Green Team to start one.
Parents -- ask how your school is participating in Walk + Roll Day, and join in the celebration.
Fall Back on November 3
On Sunday, Nov. 3rd, we lose an hour and it will be darker earlier. With shorter days this time of year, all road users should be extra alert to see each other. Here are some suggestions to help everyone safe on the road.
•Wear bright, reflective clothingwhen walking or biking. Walk with eyes and ears open and alert, and don't assume people driving will see you. Make eye contact before crossing in front of vehicles, and don’t wear headphones or text while crossing the street.
•Cyclists should make sure to have lights and wear helmets— it is the law, and it helps people see you and helps keep you safe. Using a bike lane does not guarantee safety, so remain vigilant in traffic.
•Driving or biking?Use extra caution and slow down in the dark and in the rain. Always be alert for people on foot or bike at intersections, crosswalks (marked and unmarked), bike lanes and in school zones. Do not text and drive — it’s against the law, carries steep fines and is unsafe for all road users.
When more people walk, bike and take the bus, it makes the route to school safer, less congested and more fun for everyone. Thank you for being a safe road user.
Be PALS and Get to School Safely
Our crossing guards work hard every day to help our children get to and from school safely. Whether on school property or in the community, if you see a crossing guard, please do what they are asking you to do. And slow down! We teach staff and students to be PALS when walking, biking or driving. Please do the same when you travel throughout the community.
P- Polite: respect all road users (look out for each other)
A- Alert:eyes, ears and brain focused on task (put your phone away!)
L- Legal:obey all signs and signals, know your rights AND responsibilities
S- Safe:know your abilities to make good choices We all must work together to be safe while getting to and from school.
It takes all of us to keep the roads safe for everyone. Please be especially mindful in school zones, at intersections and crosswalks (marked and unmarked), near bike lanes and in neighborhoods. Thank you!
Resolve to Be More Active
January is a great time for a fresh routine or a renewed commitment to being more active. Your school commute is an excellent place to start! Walking or biking — even part of the way to school — is good for both personal and community health and safety.
1. Keep your EYES and EARS OPEN, know what’s going on around you.
2. Cross the street at the corner, or at a crosswalk if there is one, and obey all traffic signals.
3. Look left, right, left again, AND behind before crossing.
Continue looking all ways until you reach the other side.
4. Before starting to cross, make eye contact with stopped driver/s so they see you and know your intention.
5. Walk on a sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the street, facing oncoming traffic.
Walk and Bike: It’s Good for your Heart!
Whether you walk or bike a few blocks to school or close to a mile, your active commute is good for your heart, you whole body and it’s invigorating and fun! With colder winter weather, children spend less time playing outside, but a nice brisk walk or bike ride to school will help achieve their recommended 60 minutes of moderate exercise every day. This will help reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes, boost performance school and improve their overall physical and emotional health.
Here are steps you can take to prepare for walking or biking in the rain this winter:
• Wear a raincoat or poncho, and/or carry an umbrella.
• Wear reflective gear and/or bright colors and use a light on your bicycle.
• Carry a plastic bag to store wet gear during the day.
• Wear gloves and waterproof shoes. Carry (or store at school) extra shoes and socks to change into.
• Find an under-cover area to park your bike if possible. If not, bring a plastic bag to cover the seat.
• Only walk or bike in the rain if you’re comfortable, as roads are slick and visibility may be reduced. Always remember to stop at the curb or edge of the street, look in all directions before crossing and keep looking for traffic until you have finished crossing.
Daylight Savings Time starts Sunday, March 8, 2020
With daylight saving time starting soon, the hours of darkness have shifted. It’s now darker during morning hours when many of us travel to work, school or other destinations. We can help make everyone’s trip safe by slowing down especially in neighborhoods and school zones.
• Be on the lookout for each other. Whether we are a driver, pedestrian or cyclist, we all want to get somewhere and it only works when we all work together.
• Don’t be a distracted driver, cyclist or pedestrian.Keep your eyes on the road or path ahead, hands on the wheel or handlebars and brain focused on the task of being a good road user.
• See and be seen:Pedestrians and bicyclists should always wear reflective or bright-colored clothing to increase their visibility. Drivers check your lights, use them and always watch for others.
• Stop, look, and listen: When approaching intersections, and crossing streets, stop and look in all directions before crossing. Make sure vehicles are stopped for you before starting to cross.
Be Green and Active!
Transportation is responsible for nearly one third of all carbon emissions in the U.S. Our personal transportation choices every day can make a huge impact on our community’s environmental health. Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22, 2020! Celebrate your part by walking or rolling (bike, skate, scoot, bus) to school to celebrate your lighter footprint on the planet. Active transportation brings these Earth-friendly benefits and more:
• Reducing fossil fuels and air pollution
• Boosting community safety by reducing traffic congestion near schools and in neighborhoods
• Building lifelong healthy habits and a sense of community by walking and biking together
Ask your school’s Green Team or walk + bike coordinator if your school can celebrate active transportation as part of an Earth Day celebration. View the "How-To" document listed below for ideas. Also get ready to show your spirit during Walk + Bike Challenge in May.
May is Walk + Roll Challenge Month
Thousands of BSD students and families participate in Walk + Roll Challenge Month each year – it’s all about getting out there and doing what you can. Whether you’re a walk + roll newbie or superstar, it’s always good to remember the endless benefits that come from active transportation. Here are just a few:
· It's fun – especially with friends and neighbors
· It keeps you fit, and prepares your brain for learning
· It boosts endorphins and makes us happier
· It saves us money, otherwise spent on gas and car maintenance
· It often saves us time from sitting in traffic and in crowded parking lots
· It’s better for the planet – no air pollution near schools, no fossil fuels burned. Just foot and pedal power!
· It makes roads safer as more active road users are visible to vehicles
We must all work together to ensure we all stay safe getting to and from school. Find some friends and plan a route with low-speed and low-volume roads. Ask your school how they’ll be participating in Walk + Roll Challenge Month and use your school’s preferred walk/bike map to find your route. Whatever mode you choose, be Polite, Alert, Legal and Safe!
Have a Safe Summer!
As you and your children get ready for a summer of fun and adventure, review the PALS slogan to help all have a healthy, happy, fun filled summer!
P- Polite: respect all road users
A- Alert: eyes, ears and brain open and ready
L- Legal: obey all sign and signals, know your rights AND responsibilities
S- Safe: know your abilities to make good choices
A great summer activity would be to map your route to school, community center, pool, park or friend’s house. List positives and negatives about the trip. What can you/ we do to make it better? Then write a letter to your local newspaper or school teacher about where you’ve gone, how many miles traveled, and what improvements you’d like to see on these routes. Maybe we can make them better!
- Bicycle Safety
- Engaging Students
- Parking Lot Safety
- Recognition Program
- Walking School Bus
- Welcome Back to School
Whatever travel mode you choose to get to school, plan your route.
Bicycle riders need between 10 and 15 minutes to ride a mile — this is an estimate and varies depending on traffic, terrain and age of student. Parents/guardians should map a route and try it out together to identify any hazards and practice safety skills needed, such as looking out for driveways, cross-traffic, etc. Be sure to remember:
• Always wear your helmet.
• Ride in the same direction as traffic, not against traffic.
• Be visible. Wear a bright jacket or add reflective material or blinking light to increase visibility. • Stay alert and ride predictably, in a straight line.
• If riding on the sidewalk or in a crosswalk, ride at walking speed and be prepared to walk your bike when it gets busy or at the request of crossing guards. Be mindful of pedestrians and aware of traffic at all times.
• Don’t assume that drivers see you – always watch for cars making turns or backing out of driveways. Learn bicycle safety skills in a class or ask Safe Routes to School to give a lesson at your school!
Engaging Students in Transportation Choices
Just as we teach our children to help with chores around the house and volunteer in the community as a family, we are empowering our kids with lifelong skills by consciously thinking about the way they get to and from school each day. Here are ways to engage kids in transportation choices:
- Walking and rolling: Talk about how they might be able to walk or roll to school – even one day per week -- by looking at your school’s preferred walk/bike route and practicing together safely. Talk about how they can adapt to the weather by making smart clothing and shoe choices. Have them find a friend to walk or roll with, or join a Walking School Bus (or start one!).
Driving: Families who need to travel by car can look to carpool -- daily or one or more times per week. BSD families put 14,000 cars on the road each day traveling to and from school. One less car on the road each day brings big carbon emission savings and helps make our roads safer for all. If your student travels by car, look at your school’s preferred walk/bike map together to find a good spot to park so they can walk the last few blocks to school safely. This will reduce parking lot congestion and help build a lifetime of confidence and healthy, active choices.
Riding the school bus: If your child is eligible for school bus transportation, talk about how it is a safe, efficient and eco-friendly way to get to school each day. Students at the high school level may choose to skip the school bus to instead drive their own car, but it’s worth discussing the pros and cons of this choice and seeing driving as a privilege, not a right.
In and after school: Beaverton Safe Routes to School makes it easy for your child to learn about transportation in and after school. Talk to your school about hosting pedestrian or bike safety classes during the school day. We have lessons for teachers or can come in and teach – all for free. We also have lessons for student Green Teams, focusing on everything from anti-idling to carbon footprints and more.
Be Mindful in the Parking Lot
When dropping off your student on school grounds, be sure to follow the school’s Arrival/ Departure procedure to help ensure safety and efficiency for all.
• Know the plan, follow directional arrows and volunteers.
• Pull forward as far as possible before dropping off.
• Students MUST enter/ exit vehicle onto/ from the sidewalk.
• Students must cross at intersections: DO NOT wave students across travel lanes. • 5 mph/ maximum speed to school property.
• When dropping off, driver must stay at wheel.
Please park the car if you need to: walk your student to the door; watch your student enter the building; get supplies from the trunk; help with a coat or backpack; or send your student off with anything more than a wave or good-bye.
Thank you for keeping the parking lot flow smoothly so everyone can stay safe and be where they need to be in a timely fashion.
Be Recognized for Your Transportation Work!
Did you know you can earn Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum status for your walk and roll efforts at school? Beaverton Safe Routes to School has developed a Recognition Program for schools so you can have an easy framework for your transportation efforts – and well-earned bragging rights.
For instance, Bronze level includes steps such as identifying a walk and bike coordinator at your school; holding at least one encouragement per year; posting a safety tip on your school website and handbook; and collecting information on how students traveled to school for one day. We can help you with each of these steps.
Platinum-level schools provide multi-day walk and bike safety lessons; carry out a student-led event or activity; and post and share a statement of support for active transportation in their community.
We’d love to spotlight your efforts! Let us know what you are doing. Also in fall 2020, look for Oregon Green Schools’ brand-new transportation category for recognition through their Green School certification program. Let’s rock this, Beaverton!
Interested in a Walking School Bus?
Walking School Buses are being used effectively at several schools throughout the district.
A Walking School Bus is a group of students that walk to school with parent chaperones for a safe, fun and healthy way to get to school. They follow an established route, up to a mile away from school, with designated times and places for more students to join in along the route.
They are a great solution for busy parents who would like their young children to walk to school, but don’t have time to accompany them. Send them along with the Walking School Bus and they will have all of the benefits of walking: fun time with friends, heart-healthy exercise, a boost for learning when they arrive at school, and a feeling of independence and self-confidence they will carry forward for lifelong habits.
Walking School Buses can operate daily, weekly, monthly or just on certain days. They can start out small, with just a few students, and eventually grow over time. Choose the model that’s right for your community. We would love to help your school get started!
Sexton Mountain Elementary has run a Walking School Bus for many years and is a model for the district, thanks to a team of dedicated volunteers. They have less traffic on their neighborhood streets, less congestion in their parking lot and many happy families who’ve reaped the benefits of walking and community-building. Let us know how we can help!
Welcome Back to School!
The new school year is the perfect time for students and families to start creating healthy, fun and safe habits. Safety is everyone’s responsibility! As we travel to and from school:
• Keep your eyes and ears open for traffic all around.
• If driving, slow down to 20 mph or less in school zones and neighborhood streets.
• Check for safety at all intersections, in bike lanes and follow the directions from crossing guards. Pull forward in the drop-off line when asked, and let your student out from the lane closest to the curb.
Remember to be alert and mindful of all road users, especially when we’re in a rush. We all want to get someplace fast, but safety for our children is our top priority — and takes all of our efforts.
Be sure to mark your calendar for Wednesday, October 2, 2019 — International Walk + Roll to School Day! Let’s see how many people we can get walking and rolling. Stay tuned for more details.