Safe Routes to School
One of the discouraging features of modern American life is the decline of children walking and bicycling to school. Thirty years ago 66% of school-age children walked or biked to school; less than 10% walk or bike today. The City of Santa Cruz is trying to reverse that trend by working with individual City schools and the Community Traffic Safety Coalition to implement an international movement known as Safe Routes to School. This program includes traffic safety education classes, development of Safe Routes Maps for bicycling and walking to each school, and promotional events during Walk to School Day and Bike to School Day. The program will help children reduce their risk in traffic now, and help build the foundation and knowledge that can make them safer in traffic throughout their lives.
Traffic Safety Education Classes are provided by the Community Traffic Safety Coalition for elementary schools throughout Santa Cruz County. The pedestrian safety curriculum consists of a 25-minute program for grades K-2. The bicycle safety curriculum consists of a 40-minute program for grades 3-5. For more information, contact the Community Traffic Safety Coalition at 831-454-4317 or check their website at www.sctrafficsafety.org.
Be sure to wear your helmet when riding your bike!
Safe Routes Maps are produced for participating schools to show the suggested routes for each student to bicycle and walk between home and school. Students, faculty, and parents produce these maps as classroom projects. The projects help students understand what features make a route safer than others and create awareness of specific hazards to avoid. They are also a great way to introduce basic map reading skills to elementary school children. The schools that have participated in the program include:
Walk to School Day is an international event held during the first week in October. Promotional materials, event ideas, and suggestions for getting your school community involved can be found at California Department of Health Safe Routes to School. Other great information can be found at www.pedbikeinfo.org.
Bike to School Day is is held in the fall and spring each year. More information on local events can be found at www.bike2work.com.
Let's have fun and be safe walking and biking to school!
For more information please contact:
Traffic Engineering/Public Works Department
809 Center Street, Room 201
Santa Cruz, California 95060