Walking School Buses Can Improve Physical Activity and Safety

August 16, 2016


Walking and biking to school can help improve physical activity of children and parents.  Parents are often concerned with the safety of children getting to and from school. Providing adult supervision can help ease those worries for families who are within walking or biking distance to school.

A Walking School Bus is a great way to get to school – it is like a carpool without a car! A Walking School Bus is a group of children walking to and from school with one or more adults. They help to:

  • Increase daily physical activity for children and adults in the neighborhood.
  • Increase safety for pedestrians in the neighborhood.
  • Reduce traffic in and around the neighborhood and school.
  • Increase community cohesion by helping neighbors get to know one another.

Before getting started, it is important to think about a few safety issues:

  • Where the group will walk – Choose sidewalks or paths wherever possible, even if that means the trip will take a little longer.
  • Where the group will cross streets  – Minimize the number of street crossings.  Avoid busy, high-speed or multi- lane roads, wherever possible.
  • How drivers behave – Notice if they yield to walkers and drive at safe speeds. Some roads are more conducive to producing safer driver behavior.
  • How the neighborhood feels – Use a route that avoids potential problems like loose dogs, the presence of criminal activity such as gangs, vacant buildings or streets with poor lighting.

 

Learn More about Walking School Buses and Safe Routes to Schools.

The Utah Department of Health Walking School Bus App  is a fantastic tool to make walking and biking to school easier and safer.