Safe Routes to School
We encourage all students and families to start and end 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 and mental health, improves the air quality around the school and is just plain fun. Plus, families who switch from driving their children to/from school to walking or biking with them will find the stress of pick-up/drop-off traffic gone from their lives—as if by magic!
Richfield Public Schools is one of only a handful school districts in Minnesota that has a dedicated team member who works on creating a safer environment for families to walk and bike to school.
What is Safe Routes to School?
Safe Routes to School is more than a bunch of lines on a map. It is a national initiative to encourage students to walk and bike to school more often. The program is robust in Minnesota. The City of Richfield and RPS have been working 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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.