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International Walk to School Day is October 9

Thursday, September 19 2013 11:58

Students walking to schoolInternational Walk to School / Bike to School Day is coming up fast-- October 9 is the big day! Are you ready?

If you aren't sure where to begin to organize an event in your neighborhood or school, start with the Safe Routes to School Event Handbook, available as a free download. BikeTexas also provides free Master Pages for download that you can distribute to your participants. 

Also see other online resources for a Walking School Bus or a Bike Train.

Finally, be sure to register your event! The International Walk/Bike to School site has a page of Who's Walking in 2013. So far, there are 66 registered events in Texas-- can we get even more before October 9?


Back to School by Bike

Students make their way to school on Walk to School Day 2012.Schools across Texas are opening their doors for the fall semester, and the trickle of students heading back will become a flood by the end of August. As your household transitions back to a time of learning, are you planning for biking and walking?

Biking or walking to school gives your child tremendous health and mental benefits. Childhood obesity is on the rise across the US, and regular physical activity can help protect your child: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 60 minutes of physical activity every day for children and adolescents. 

In addition to getting kids active, studies have shown a link between children being active on their way to school and their ability to concentrate once they arrive. Doss Elementary School in Austin has noticed this firsthand; in 2012, Amanda Swann said of the school's bike/walk program, "children who walk/ride to school are much better prepared to sit and learn and have gotten those ‘wiggles’ out on that trip to school instead of during school."


So, time to get everybody ready to roll!

  1. Teach your children how to do the ABC Quick Check before every ride.

  2. Make sure everyone in your family has a properly fitted helmet.

  3. Be ready for daylight hours to get shorter-- order BikeTexas Bike Lights for the whole family.

  4. Get a refresher on the rules of the road with the Texas Bicycle Laws Activity Cards

  5. Find more fun ways to learn about biking and walking on the BikeTexas Educational Resources page! 

  6. Does your bike need a tuneup? Check out the BikeTexas bike shop members in your area. 



Want to plan a Bike/Walk to School Day for your school or community?

  1. International Walk to School Day is October 9! 

  2. Get ready with BikeTexas' Event Handbook. 

  3. Go to the Walk to School Day site to find out if an event is planned near you or to register your event. 


And don't forget about the BikeTexas KidsKup! If your kids love to ride their bikes and are ready for a new challenge, it may be time to try mountain biking! BikeTexas KidsKup races are held in conjunction with TMBRA races in the spring and fall.

  1. Check out the KidsKup schedule here

  2. Be sure to join our mailing list so you get a reminder when KidsKup will be in your area.


Above all, have a great school year, and happy riding!


ABC Quick Check

Checking a bike

A. Air / Wheels:

  • Is the air pressure in the tires correct? Are the tires in good shape?
  • Do the wheels spin freely on the hub? Are all the spokes tight?

B. Brakes:

  • Do the brakes make the wheels skid?
  • Are the pads in good shape?
  • Spin both wheels; do the brake pads rub?

C. Chain / Crank / Pedal:

  • Is the chain straight?
  • Is the chain clean and lightly oiled? Is the chain free of rust?
  • Is the crank tight and secure?
  • Are the pedals tight and secure?

D. Drop:

  • Raise the bike about two inches and drop it. Does it make noise? Something may be loose.

Quick / Check:

  • Quick: If the bike is equipped with quick release fittings, are they properly adjusted?
  • Check: Ride around slowly. Does the bike appear to operate properly?


Download a more complete Vehicle Safety Inspection Checklist here.


Safe Routes to School 2013 Conference

Girls walking to schoolBikeTexas is proud to partner with the Safe Routes to School National Conference, to be held in Sacramento, CA August 13-15. If you've been looking for an opportunity to connect with other professionals who work with children's transportation to school, this is it! Safe Routes to School (SRTS) creates safe, convenient and fun opportunities for children to bike and walk to school and plays a critical role in providing more physical activity and enhancing traffic safety.

California was the first state to jump into SRTS in 1999, but Texas was not far behind with the Matthew Brown Act in 2001. Both Texas and California played a key role in the birth of the nationwide SRTS movement and remain national leaders in Safe Routes to School strategies.

This biennial event draws a national and multidisciplinary audience of school leaders and staff; elected officials and staff; professionals in planning, transportation, public health, landscape architecture, architecture, public works, and parks and recreation; and all others committed to improving conditions for children to walk and bike to school and to creating safer, healthier and more livable communities. This year's conference includes many special events, including a Kidical Mass ride.

For program details, registration info and sponsorship opportunities:


SafeCyclist Training Proves Worthwhile for Teachers

A boy identifies parts of a bicycle as part of the SafeCyclist Curriculum.

As part of our ongoing commitment to reach schoolchildren across Texas with a message of bicycle safety, BikeTexas regularly conducts teacher training sessions in the SafeCyclist Curriculum with the help of a TxDOT grant. Since 1991, BikeTexas has certified close to 4,000 PE teachers and youth community workers. In addition, our SafeCyclist certified college faculty have taught approximately 4,000 students studying to be PE teachers. Part of the grant includes asking teachers for feedback at the end of the school year about the results of using the SafeCyclist Curriculum in their classes.

Many, many thanks to the teachers who took time at a few points during a busy school year to respond to our call for feedback. Your responses will help shape the future of the SafeCyclist Curriculum and will also influence future funding for Safe Routes to School in Texas.

Teachers practice the SafeCyclist lessons at a teacher training

Based on the feedback we received, BikeTexas has determined that at least 180,876 Texas schoolchildren learned about bicycle safety during the 2012-2013 school year. We believe the precise number may be much higher. We also celebrate a growing appreciation among our Texas teachers for the SafeCyclist Curriculum in a time when concerns for our children's health are growing due to increased childhood inactivity, obesity, and diabetes. We look forward to continuing our partnerships with teachers and with the ISDs they represent to continue to reach more Texas children with the lifesaving messages of bicycle and pedestrian safety.

Some of the responses we received:

Teachers at a training at BISD

"It gives me great pleasure to be able to teach my students a bicycle safety course. We have a lot of visitors at our school, Stephens Elem., Houston, TX. They are still very impressed to see our students riding bikes at school. My students love it. I have about 25-30 bikes and this is one of the highlights of my PE program. It is an honor and makes me feel good to be able to show the video and let my students ride bikes; many do not have the chance or have bikes at home. They and I love it." Theresa Lucher – Aldine ISD

"I enjoyed teaching the 'tune your bicycle and your body' segment. I think it's important that kids realize that they will enjoy bike riding and can ride longer if their bodies are in balance, flexible, strong, and they have achieved improved endurance." Dee Darst – Irving ISD

A teacher rides a bike as part of a teacher training.

"It gives me the chance to teach college-age students the importance of bike safety on college campuses as well as prepare them to teach their children or the classes that they might one day teach in their teaching careers." Kerri Hart – Abilene Christian University

"The actual facts of the safety course. Some of them were eye openers for our students at Villa Nueva Elementary." Florencio Torres – Brownsville ISD

"I enjoy the obstacle course. It encompasses all the safety issues with bike safety. We teach bike safety on scooters, as most of our students don't own a bike. I believe all students should know the bike safety rules and be able to adhere to them when they do get on a bike." Patricia McAlpin – Plano ISD

Happy teachers after a teacher training session

"We held our Bike Rodeo as an after school event for about one and a half hours and had volunteers from our Police Department and BikeIrving friends help with stations. My favorite part of actual teaching was the demonstration with 'crash' about helmet safety. Also hearing stories from the community and families at school about the new interest in and practice of riding bikes and riding them safely. I love seeing our bike racks begin to fill at school. I am excited to continue this curriculum early next year to start off the year with cyclists and walkers to school and as an improved from of transportation for our families. I would rather see a family of cyclists than a car FULL of children with no seat belts or even enough seats for everyone in the car!" Jana Neill – Irving ISD

"I enjoy the games for teaching the bike laws: Super Cyclist Turnover and the Charades game where kids act out the rules." Ellen Deaton – Humble ISD

UT students learn the SafeCyclist curriculum to teach to their own students one day


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