Services for schools
RideWise provides several services for schools to help introduce, build and sustain a Safe Routes to School program.
Safety Town is a hands-on, interactive learning tool where students play the roles of children walking to school, cars, or crossing guards to understand the dangers associated with streets.
Safety Town teaches students how to safely walk along and cross streets including how to navigate streets with just one or no sidewalk provided for pedestrians. The model includes a crosswalk, crossing guard, and traffic control devices such as the electronic WALK / DON’T WALK box found at many intersections. By playing various roles, students understand pedestrian safety is tied to the decisions they make such as knowing when and where to safely cross streets, avoiding distracted walking, and knowing a crossing guard makes streets much safer but pedestrians still need to actively scan for cars.
Safety Town is mobile and can be quickly set up in an activity room or school gymnasium. The course is available to all students including students with special needs. We have also used actual crosswalks and walkways on school grounds to provide a much more realistic learning environment. We can review those options depending on the weather, age group, class size and school safety guidelines. The course is equally effective taught either indoors or out
Walk or Bike to School Days
Although children have access to more technology than ever, they are less independent, less likely to explore the neighborhoods where they live, and are considerably less active.
Every year, schools across the country celebrate International Walk to School Day in October and Bike to School Month in May. Biking and walking to school do not need to be once a year events. RideWise works with schools, PTA/PTO/HSA organizations, and parents to encourage regular walking and biking to school throughout the year.
Walking School Bus
A Walking School Bus is another way to participate in Walk to School days. It can be as simple as two families taking turns walking their children to school, or as formal as a structured route to the school with a timetable, designated stops and assigned adult volunteers.
A bike train is the biking equivalent of a Walking School Bus. Students and parents meet at a central starting point and bike together to and from school. By traveling in a large group led by parents, students will be more visible and safer. Cyclists follow a predetermined route to school, additional students may join at stops along the route.
NJ state law requires anyone under 17 years of age that rides a bicycle or is a passenger on a bicycle, or is towed as a passenger by a bicycle must wear a safety helmet. Bike should also have a red light on the back of the bike and a white light on the front of the bike to help increase visibility.
Schools need to provide bike racks to make a bike train most effective. It is strongly recommended parents check with the school before starting a bike train to determine if the school has a policy which prevents children from biking to school or biking on school grounds once they reach the school.
A bike rodeo is a clinic designed to teach children the skills and precautions needed to safely ride a bicycle. Every bike rodeo has a safety course. Bike rodeos begin the course with the safety check for both the rider and the bicycle. The safety check for the rider includes proper helmet and bike fit. An ABC quick check is performed on the bicycle consisting of checking for proper air in the tires, checking to see brakes work correctly and checking that the chain is on properly. Bike rodeos can also teach children how to correctly lock their bike to a bike rack (if provided at the school) or another object to prevent it from being stolen.
Safe Routes Mapping and Traffic Studies
Identifying the best routes to school and identifying threats are key to successful Safe Routes to School programs. RideWise uses school address data to identify population centers and map the best routes to bike and walk to school. We conduct risk assessments to determine how many cars arrive at a school during pick-up and drop-off times, identify where crossing guards be needed, and record infrastructure issues in school zones – damaged sidewalks, no curb ramps, no bike racks, faded crosswalk markings, etc – to make biking and walking to school safer. RideWise reports findings to local police, school boards or the municipality to help have those issues resolved.