At SVBC, we are committed to helping raise healthy and active children. Through our Safe Routes to School programs, we prepare children with the safety knowledge they need to stay healthy and active by bicycling and walking to school.
Not long ago, half of all children got to school by biking or walking. Today, just 15 percent of school children bike or walk to school. An international movement in over 40 countries and in all 50 states has been underway to reverse this recent trend by aiming to promote more biking and walking through increased safety, awareness, and education.
Our programs use the following components to promote more walking and bicycling:
The Five E’s
- Education – Classroom and outdoor instruction that teach students safe walking and biking skills to use on their way to and from school.
- Encouragement – Keep participants engaged through events, contests and initiatives that encourage students and parents to walk and bike to school more often.
- Engineering – Help identify barriers and solve problems in the built environment to make biking and walking easier.
- Enforcement – Work with law enforcement to improve traffic safety around schools.
- Evaluation – Measure and monitor progress and success of programs and activities.
SVBC has been working with the City of Santa Clara and Alta Planning + Design to implement a two-year Safe Routes to School program at six elementary schools and one middle school in the Santa Clara Unified School District: Montague, Bowers, Briarwood, Haman, Sutter, Scott Lane, and Cabrillo. The program includes bike and walk to school education and encouragement through classroom instruction, bike rodeos, walking school buses, and other fun events and activities that promote more walking and bicycling. During the 2013-2014 school year, nearly 1,000 students received bicycle and pedestrian safety instruction, and thousands more participated in walk/bike encouragement events. The program is expected to continue during the 2014-2015 school year, with an addition of five more schools. More details will be announced soon. To learn more about this program, visit http://santaclarasr2s.org/
San Mateo County
In partnership with the San Mateo County Office of Education, SVBC has been involved in promoting and delivering Safe Routes to School programming at over half a dozen cities in San Mateo County. During the 2013-2014 schools year, nearly 6,000 students at over 30 schools received bicycle and pedestrian safety education, and thousands more participated in encouragement events. Our efforts at these schools are not only meant to promote more walking and bicycling, but to also generate awareness in the community about the need to be more conscious about child safety. In addition to providing student walk and bike education and encouragement, multiple workshops and events are organized to engage parents and the entire community. As the 2014-2015 school year approaches, we will strive to continue our efforts at even more communities in San Mateo County.
SVBC also reaches out to provide support and expertise to other schools and agencies that want to implement Safe Routes to School programs in Silicon Valley and the Peninsula. In Santa Clara County, we are a member of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Work Group for the Traffic Safe Communities Network of Santa Clara County Public Health.