Redwood City, CA — In partnership with the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County, and the California Department of Transportation, the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) will help 90 schools across San Mateo County participate in International Walk to School Day on October 10.
International Walk to School Day provides students and families the opportunity to get active, reduces traffic around schools, and teaches children how to use roadways safely. Each school will engage students, families, and the community in a number of activities, including walking school buses, where adults walk students to school along a designated route to build community and teach safe transportation habits.
SMCOE’s Safe Routes to School program supports schools’ efforts by providing them with materials, including posters and buttons, to educate children, families, and the community on best traffic safety practices to and from school. SMCOE also offers tips to families with children who walk or ride their bikes to schools as well as drivers who pass through school zones:
- Always use a crosswalk when crossing the street. Look both ways to make sure it is safe to cross.
- Encourage your child not to wear earbuds when walking, and test them on traffic rules, such as stopping at stop signs and signals.
- If riding your bike to school, ride single file in the bike lane with traffic. If riding on the sidewalk, look out for people walking.
- Walk to school with friends or in a group.
- Drive slowly and with caution in school zones. School zones have reduced speed limits (as low as 15MPH) when children are present.
- Do not text or talk on your cell phone while driving.
- Keep an eye out for children walking in the street.
- Consider using a route away from a school to save time.
- Look for school buses and know what to do around them. Overhead flashing yellow lights indicate you should prepare to stop, hazard flashing yellow lights mean drive with caution and overhead flashing red lights mean stop. The law requires drivers to stop in both directions until children are safely across the street and red lights stop flashing.
“The opportunity to get physical exercise, especially in the morning, is extremely important for brain development and learning,” said San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Anne E. Campbell. “The County Office of Education is proud to support so many schools in promoting active transportation among their students.”
The Partnership for a Walkable America organized the first Walk to School Day event in 1997, to encourage children to become familiar with their neighborhood and emphasize ways to make trips to and from school safe and fun.
To learn more about International Walk to School Day, visit walkbiketoschool.org or search for schools at www.walkbiketoschool.org/registration/whoswalking.php?sid=CA.
To learn more about Safe Routes to School, and ways to implement projects and activities that promote safe walking and bicycling to school every day, visit saferoutesinfo.org.
The San Mateo County Office of Education is committed to ensuring excellence and equity in education by inspiring students, investing in teachers, invigorating leaders, and involving communities.