Safe Routes to School
National Bike to School Day
Like International Walk to School Day in October, Bike to School Day (BTSD) is a chance to publicize the benefits of getting to school on two wheels or two feet! Bike to School Day takes place in early May, and is often just one event in part of a month-long Bike Month celebration. Many schools teach bicycle safety skills or host bike rodeos either before or as part of their Bike to School Day events. Use the momentum of your BTSD event to encourage bicycling and walking to school on a regular basis. Check out the BTSD resources below to help plan your school’s events.
NOTE FOR BTSD 2020: BTSD is about community, safety & health. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, coming together is not advised this year. Depending on your local circumstances, we encourage individual families to walk and bike as possible.
Want to get a head start planning for next year's Bike to School Day events? Mark your calendars:
- Bike to School Day 2021 – May 5, 2021
Staying Active During the COVID-19 Pandemic
As advised by the government, many of us are staying at home to protect ourselves and our communities from coronavirus. Depending on your community's situation, this extra time can be used to stay active. It can be difficult to be confined to your home, so getting exercise is a great respite. Staying fit can improve energy levels, keep our body healthy, and reduce stress - essential in times like these.
Though BTSD is no longer happening, we encourage you to bike on your own. Walking, running, and biking outside in uncrowded areas is safe to do. Enjoy time with your family, fresh air, and the warmer weather with a hike or bike ride. Consider the density of where you will exercise - forested, suburban, and rural places are likely to be less crowded. Passersby should be given six feet of space.
Looking to make walks fun and educational? Go on a SRTS Scavenger Hunt - download the Scavenger Hunt list here. Participate in ART APART, an effort to connect with others by creating a city-wide art gallery in Charlottesville.
Health officials recommend reducing interactions with those outside your household, and large group activities are discouraged. Want to play a group sport? Gather your family members for a game of soccer. Be cautious at playgrounds because coronavirus can linger on playground equipment. Enjoy the park, but avoid physical contact with others.
If going outside presents a threat to your health, there are other options to staying fit. Be creative with your workouts at home. There are many exercise videos online, some catered to younger people. Host a dance party and invite others to join virtually! After you exercise, play the SRTS Nudge Theory Board Game (download the game board here and the game cards here).
During stressful times like these, maintaining physical and mental health is important. If you feel ill, stay home and rest! Be sure to listen to the directions of your local health officials. We look forward to BTSD 2021, and in the meantime, prioritize your health and safety.
Other resources concerning staying fit in during the coronavirus pandemic:
Bike to School Day in Virginia
Virginia started tracking the number of BTSD events held each year in 2012 with 26 events. Since then, participation has grown each year, with a record-breaking 313 schools participating in 2019. Virginia is usually among the top five states with the most Walk/Bike to School Day events, but 313 put us in second place behind California (with about 4.5 times the population).
The 313 schools included many past participants, as well as 44 schools participating for the first time. Middle schools accounted for 20 percent of the events, the highest participation from this age group to date. Keep up the great work!
National Bike to School Day Tip Sheets and Guides
Conduct a Bike Audit – Before promoting your bike to school day event, it can be helpful to test the biking routes first. Think about bringing community stakeholders along as you determine the bikability of the area. Whether the bike audit is conducted by a school champion, a bike train leader, or a community group, this Learn it. Do it. Live it. tip sheet can help make the most of your audit.
Event Ideas – Walk or bike to school events can be as simple as encouraging kids to walk or bike on a particular day. This Learn it. Do it. Live it. tip sheet describes several great ideas other local SRTS programs have used successfully.
First-time Tips for Planning a SRTS Event – This tip sheet has great advice from seasoned event organizers. If this if your first event (or you’re looking for ways to plan a smooth event), review this short tip sheet.
National Bike to School Day Flyers, Posters and Stickers
Check out these VDOT SRTS customizable flyers, posters, and stickers to help spread the word about Bike to School Day.
Celebrate Bike to School Day by giving out these BTSD stickers to students who bike or walk to school at you school’s event! Stickers can be printed in black and white as well. If you'd like to use colored label paper for the stickers, use this template (compatible with Avery Label # 5294).
|Inform parents and community members about Bike to School Day by handing out these BTSD flyers to send home with students. The flyers are customizable to your school, have space to share your school’s BTSD plans, contact information and it includes bicycle safety tips. They can also be printed in BTSD flyer black and white as well.|
|Advertise your school’s Bike to School Day by hanging up this BTSD poster at your school or at local events. The poster is customizable to your school, with space to include the date and details of the event as well as contact information. It also can be printed in black and white.|
|Hang this BTSD Banner up during your school’s Bike to School Day. The banner is 2.5 x 4 feet and the date can be customized for your school’s event.|
You can also use fliers designed by the National Center for Safe Routes to School.
|Use this information flyer to share the date, time, and other pertinent details of your school’s Bike to School Day with parents and the community.|
|This Bike to School Day Why Ride flyer can help spread the word about your school’s Bike to School Day and can share the benefits of Bike to School Day.|
National Bike to School Day Links
- WalkBiketoSchool.org – Register your school’s Bike to School Day event, map a biking route, see what other schools are doing and get event ideas at The National Center’s Bike to School Day Website.
- Bicycle Safety for Children (English/Spanish) and Parents (English/Spanish) – These tip sheets, developed by the National Center for Safe Routes to School, help children and their parents do bike and helmet checks as well as provide reminders for staying safe while riding a bike.
- ABC Quick Check - An ABC Quick Check, created by the League of American Bicyclists, teaches students how to check the Air, Brakes, and Chain before going on a bike ride
- Bike Trains – The National Center for Safe Routes to School has put together some great resources for organizing bike trains. Follow this link to learn the ins-and-outs of organizing a Bike Train.
- Be a Roll Model! – Being a Roll Model means knowing how to safely ride a bike in all types of environments. The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) has resource guides for adults and children on how to be a better Roll Model.
- Promote Bike Safety – NHTSA has put together this list of ideas to help promote bicycle safety.