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Types of Events and Programs


Safe Routes to School is based on the 5Es approach to SRTS. The 5Es are strategies of a comprehensive SRTS Program, which include: engineering, enforcement, education, encouragement and evaluation. The most effective Safe Routes to School programs include elements of all of the 5Es. For complete definitions of the 5Es, please see the Glossary page.

The following list includes educational programs and encouragement events and activities that have been successful in Minnesota schools:

Walk to school day

International Walk to School Day is a global event that involves communities from more than 40 countries walking and biking to school on the same day. It began in 1997 as a one-day event. Over time, this event has become part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school and a celebration – with record breaking participation – each October. Today, thousands of schools across America – from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico – participate every October.

Walk to School day takes place in October each year:

  • Walk to School Day 2015: October 7, 2015
  • Walk to School Day 2016: October 5, 2016
  • Walk to School Day 2017: October 4, 2017

Bike to school day

The first-ever National Bike to School Day took place on May 9, 2012, in coordination with the League of American Bicyclists' National Bike Month. Almost 1,000 local events in 49 states and the District of Columbia joined together to encourage children to safely bicycle or walk to school.

The event builds on the popularity of Walk to School Day, which is celebrated across the country – and the world – each October. Many communities and schools have been holding spring walk and bicycle to school events for years. National Bike to School Day provides an opportunity for schools across the country to join together to celebrate and to build off the momentum of National Bike Month.

Bike to School Day takes place in May each year. The dates for 2016 and 2017 are:

  • Bike to School Day 2016: May 4, 2016
  • Bike to School Day 2017: May 10, 2017

Resource: Walk and Bike to School Day Tip Sheet

Photo of children walking to school.

Walking School Bus

Walking school buses are groups of children who walk designated routes to school under adult supervision, picking up kids along the way just like a bus. For some neighborhoods, it's a casual group walk, while others set up a formal plan with adults scheduled to walk on certain days.

Free walking school bus training module videos are available from the National Center for Safe Routes to School. The video training modules highlight important planning tips and strategies for planning a walking school bus program.

Resource: Walking School Bus Tip Sheet

Bike Trains

A bike train is an organized bike ride to and from school. It is supervised by chaperones who work with students to assure everyone’s safety and fun. Students may begin riding to school from one designated location, or be picked up at designated stops along the way. Bike trains are lots of fun and promote safe bicycling habits and healthy lifestyles.

Keep in mind that bicycle trains are more involved than walking school buses. But when a bike train is organized well, it can be a rewarding experience for both the students and the adult leaders.

Resource: Bike Train Tip Sheet

Bike Rodeo

Bike rodeos are fun events that provide children with a basic understanding of effective cycling. Bike rodeos often have multiple stations that teach bicycling skills and educate about bike safety and rules of the road.

BikeMn is available to help communities with bike rodeos. Also, check out their new bike rodeo 101 guide.

Bicycle Fleets

Schools or school districts sometimes purchase fleets of bicycles that students use in a variety of ways to promote healthy and active living and encourage biking to school. Bike fleets are used for class rides, bike clubs, class field trips, in-class instruction, bicycle rodeos, and integrated SRTS education with classroom teachers.

Visit the bicycle fleets resource page to learn more.

Bus Stop and Walk Events

Kids and parents meet at a specific location to walk to school together. Minneapolis Public Schools, Red Wing schools, and others have held regular bus stop and walk events, as well as used the bus stop and walk model for special events like Walk to School day. Some Minnesota schools have seen nearly 100 percent walk or bike participation rates on special event days.