Welcome to the Safe Routes to School section of the website! This is a guide to help families navigate the options available for getting their kids safely to school. We hope to encourage walking and biking as part of a healthy lifestyle and community building and, of course, being safe whether you’re a pedestrian, biker or driver! Scroll down to read more information about each of the following topics: How Parents Can Help Keep Kids Safe, Biking to School, Walking to School, Driving to School, and Advocacy Resources for Safe Routes.
How Parents Can Help Keep Kids Safe
- Assist with crossings, using flags to help kids cross the street before and after school. Sign up in office.
- Start a Walking Bus or Biking Train. Visit “How to Start a Walking School Bus“ to learn more. Also, contact PTSA with your plans and we’ll publish in the newsletter and on Facebook.
- Walk to/from the bus stops in the neighborhood before and after school. This supports safe behaviors and makes kids more visible.
- Advocate for safer routes and crossing guards. See below for more information, or visit Seattle Schools’ Traffic Safety Committee page.
Biking to School
- Bike route map
- Benefits of cycling
- Biking safely
- Bike Safety Tip Sheet
- Where do I lock my bike? There are bike racks in front of school for students to use.
- What if I forget my lock? No worries! The office has two spare bike locks for loan. Ask at the front desk.
- Where do I cross Aurora? Bikes should cross Aurora at 92nd St.
- Do I need a light? For night bicycle riding (or early morning when still dark), WA State law requires a white front light (not a reflector) visible for 500 feet and a red rear reflector. A red rear light may be used in addition to the required reflector.
- Where can I get a helmet? Bike Helmets are required by law in King County. They can be purchased at sporting good stores, and other stores that carry bikes such as Target. If you’re in need of a helmet, contact the PTSA as they may have one your child can have! In addition, Seattle Children’s and Kohl’s offer free bike and sport helmets for children ages 1-18 at selected locations throughout the year. For upcoming free bike helmet events, visit Kohls’ helmet safety page. Or check out this website for low cost bicycle helmets.
- What is a greenway? Seattle Neighborhood Greenways are residential streets generally one off of main arterials with low volumes of cars going slowly enough so that people who walk or ride bicycles feel safe and comfortable. Read here for more info.
- What is “defensive” cycling? Defensive cycling involves always being aware of what is going on around you and putting yourself in the best possible position for your safety, as well as always expecting the unexpected! Here’s an article that gives some tips on cycling defensively.
Walking to School
- Walking route map
- Benefits of walking to school
- How to Start a Walking School Bus
- Walking Safety Tip Sheet
Driving to School
If you drive, remember that the speed limit in a school zone is 20 MPH and in all cases on Seattle side streets, 20 mph is plenty! As the Seattle Times noted on Sept 3, 2017:
“Pedestrian-vehicle injuries are the fifth leading cause of death for U.S. children ages 5 to 19, according to SafeKids.org. Teaching our kids to be careful when crossing the street, such as making eye contact with drivers, could save some lives. But the real responsibility rests with the drivers themselves. Slow down, follow the rules and drive with everyone’s children in mind.”
Advocacy resources for safe routes
Here are some advocacy resource, including VisionZero, the zero pedestrian deaths by 2020 program, places to get more information about safe routes in our neighborhood and report outs from PtSA committee and actions related to this work.
- Safe Routes to Schools Online Guide has lots of general information about Safe Routes developed in collaboration with many national and government organizations.
- SDOT Safe Routes to school link
- Greenways and Licton Springs project
- Past actions by PTSA. There have been major investments in greenways and special pedestrian signals but more is needed around the school. See our call to action on Sept 23rd, 2017 and updates.