Ready or not, the new school year is here! We send our best wishes to students, teachers, and parents as they set out on this new learning adventure. Now’s also the best time to think about the trip to school every morning.
Biking or walking to school gives your child (or you!) 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: after just a few months of the school’s bike program, teacher Amanda Swann said, “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. Learn how to do the ABC Quick Check before every ride.
2. Make sure everyone in your family has a properly fitted helmet.
- Need to get your kids motivated to wear a helmet? Show them the BikeTexas CATS Safety Bling! video.
3. Get a refresher on the rules of the road with the Texas Bicycle Laws Activity Cards. (PDF download)
4. When’s the last time you changed a flat tire? Find step-by-step instructions here. (PDF download)
5. Find more fun ways to learn about biking and walking on the BikeTexas Educational Resources page here.
6. Does your bike need a tuneup? Click here to check out the BikeTexas bike shop members in your area.
Headed to college and not sure about your transportation options?
- Did you bring your bike to campus? You’re already ahead of the game. Now’s the time to brush up on the Texas Bike Laws–nobody wants a ticket in their first semester of college.
- Using a bus or train for the first time? You’re not alone–many students try transit for the first time when they leave home for school. Check out this guide to public transportation and you’ll be ready to roll.
- Hoping to stave off the First Year 15? Biking and walking are your friend in times of need.
Want to plan a Bike/Walk to School Day for your school or community?
- International Walk to School Day is October 4! Check out listings on the Walk to School Day site to find an event near you or to register your event.
- Check out the Bike/Walk to School Day chapter in the BikeTexas Event Handbook for tips to make everything run smoothly. Start with the Team Leader Checklist (PDF download) to get you well on your way.
- Order activity books and lights from BikePedEd to make sure you have plenty of fun giveaway items on hand. Pass this info on to your school district, too, so that they have plenty of bike and walk safety items to hand out all year long.
Biking/Walking not a feasible option for your family?
Never fear: You are not forgotten! StreetsBlog LA shared excellent advice from Jim Shanman, the executive director of Walk n Rollers: “Instead of driving all the way to school, try parking 5 blocks away and walking the rest. Spending an extra 10 minutes with your kids and avoiding the drop off crush is an excellent – and rewarding – way to start your day.” Read more of Jim’s suggestions here.
You might also consider joining– or starting– a walking school bus or a bike train in your neighborhood. Parents take turns being the leaders, reducing each person’s overall time commitment– a valuable commodity for busy parents. Learn more: info about walking school buses here and info about bike trains here.
Above all, have a great school year, and happy riding!