With a new school year upon us, BikeTexas sends our best wishes to students, teachers, and parents as they set out on this new learning adventure. Here’s to an excellent year!
As you’re gathering school supplies and planning your new routine, don’t forget to consider how you’ll get to school. 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: children and teens should get 60 minutes of exercise per day for best health (ver la infografía en español aquí).
In addition to getting kids active, studies have shown a link between children’s activity level and their performance in school. 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!
- Learn how to do the ABC Quick Check before every ride.
- 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.
- Get a refresher on the rules of the road with the Texas Bicycle Laws Activity Cards. (PDF download)
- When’s the last time you changed a flat tire? Find step-by-step instructions here. (PDF download)
- Find more fun ways to learn about biking and walking on the BikeTexas Education page.
- 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.
- Is your university ready to expand its bike program? Check out these tips from Dero on the next steps.
Want to plan a Bike/Walk to School Day for your school or community?
- International Walk to School Day is October 12! Look to see if your school is signed up, or start planning your event today.
- Check out the Bike/Walk to School Day chapter in the BikeTexas Event Handbook for tips to have your own Walk to School or Bike to School event on a day that works best for your community.
- 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. Or, brighten the day of a kid you know when you order a BikePedEd Activity Kit.
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.
Consider 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 and walking!
Top of page image source: “Active Education: Growing Evidence on Physical Activity and Academic Performance”
Image description: Two images that are similar to brain scans sit side by side. On the left is a brain that is mostly blue with a lighter green section towards the back in the middle. On the right is a brain with a smaller blue section and larger green, yellow, orange, and red section, indicating activity. The title at the top of the image reads, “Composite Attentional Allocation of 20 students taking the same test.” Below the left-side brain the caption reads, “After 20 minutes of sitting quietly.” Below the right-side brain the caption reads, “After 20 minutes of walking.”