All Aboard the Bike Train
Do you remember going on field trips for school when you were a kid? And did your teachers instruct you to use the “buddy system”? The buddy system ensured that everyone was accounted for (“does everyone have their buddy?”) so no one would be left behind, and ensured safety since people tend to be safer from harm or accidents if they’re with another person. In the bicycling world we have a kind of buddy system, too, and it’s commonly referred to as “safety in numbers.” When you combine children with biking, it becomes more apparent why this system is so important, and with return to school quickly approaching we can offer up some tips for you to feel comfortable about letting your child walk or bike to school this year!
Why Bike or Walk to School
So let’s talk about how kids benefit from walking or biking to school. There is a national movement called Safe Routes to School that not only aims at getting more kids active by walking or biking to school, but it also aims at improving safety conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists across the country. There are plenty of reasons why your child should walk or bike, a few of them being kids who bike or walk to school perform better academically, experience improved mental health, and maintain a healthier weight. Not to mention the decreased congestion helps improve the air quality which is super important to everyone.
“Ok, you got me, but I don’t feel comfortable letting my child walk or bike on their own. What are my options?” Great question. We have just the thing for you…Bike Trains! A bike train is an organized group of kids and trusted adults (or older kids on their own) who ride their bikes to school together. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership has a great resource on getting rolling with a Bike Train program. It’s as easy as getting a group of friends and neighbors together and riding to school in a group, but there are some things to think through carefully, so if you’re interested, check out that resource or contact our team.
We also have a whole page dedicated to Biking to School if you’re still hungry for more. But the bottom line is, bike trains are an easy and safe way to get your kids exciting about biking to school AND to feel good about them doing it. It’s fun and social for the kids, so you know they’ll enjoy it.
This post was updated by Katy Lang on October 20, 2020.