Safe Routes to School
We encourage all students and families to try starting and ending their school day with a relaxing walk or leisurely bike ride. Even a little bit of physical activity has been proven to activate the brain’s learning centers, helping students focus in class and get the most out of their classroom time. Walking and biking to school has positive effects on physical, mental and social health; improves the air quality around the school; and is just plain fun. Plus, families who switch from driving their children to walking or biking with them will find the stress of pick-up and drop-off traffic gone from their lives—as if by magic!
For all of these reasons and more, we are dedicated to the Safe Routes to School program. We are one of only a handful of school districts in Minnesota that has a dedicated staff member who works every day on creating a safer environment for families who walk and bike to school.
Not sure if walking or bicycling is right for your family? Give it a try one day a week or during one of our special walking and bicycling events. Or, consider driving part of the way to school and walking the last stretch. No matter what you decide, we’re here to ensure you have a safe trip.
What is Safe Routes to School?
Safe Routes to School is a national initiative to encourage students to walk and bike to school more often. The program is robust in Minnesota. We have worked with the City of Richfield on Safe Routes to School projects since 2009. Efforts to encourage families to walk and bike more often typically fall within the "6 Es" of Safe Routes to School:
Read the City of Richfield’s 2014 Safe Routes to School Comprehensive Plan.
When you walk or bike, please consider these 10 tips to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable trip:
Test the route on a non-school day with your child. You’ll discover how long your trip takes and identify any potential hazards along the way.
Use sidewalks and bike lanes whenever possible.
Take extra care when you approach intersections, driveways or other busy parts of the roadway. Look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Continue looking in each direction as you cross.
If biking, always wear a helmet. Check out this flyer created by an RPS alum called "Bike Helmets: Why They Matter and What You Can Do About It."
Bicyclists must obey motor vehicle laws. That includes yielding to pedestrians, stopping for stop signs, signaling turns and traveling with the flow of traffic.
Every school has a bike rack. Make sure to remember a lock. The school office may have an extra lock to loan to you if you forget yours.
Be alert. Having your eyes on your phone means they aren’t on the road or traffic. If using headphones, keep the volume low to hear what is happening around you.
Dress for the weather. Bright or reflective clothing is never a bad idea, especially in the darker winter months.
If you start walking or biking more often, let the staff of your school know. They’ll keep an eye out for you!
Consider starting a “walking school bus” or “bike train” with other families in your neighborhood. It’s more fun with friends and neighbors!
If you have any questions about how to walk or bike to your child’s school, please reach out to our Safe Routes to School Coordinator, who can help you plan a great route, connect you to local resources, share tips, provide lots of encouragement and more.