Program Provides Safety for Young Cyclists

According to Lisa Rosenthal of, students in San Mateo County Public Schools will have a safe and healthy alternative to riding the school bus every day.  A new program has been put into place—Safe Routes to Schools—thanks to a $2 million grant from the San Mateo City/County Association of Governments (C/CAG).

The Safe Routes to Schools program is designed to promote pedestrian and bicycle safety and awareness.  The objective of the program—which is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation—is to encourage more children to walk or ride bikes to school instead of taking the bus.  It aims to improve the environment and overall health of the community.

The community hopes to reverse a trend that has been going on for years.  According to the National Center for Safe Routes to Schools, in 2001 less than 16 percent of students between the ages of 5 and 15 walked or biked to or from school.  But in 1969, 42 percent of students walked or biked.

“We want to get these resources out to schools,” says Peter Burchyns from the San Mateo County Office of Education. “We’re encouraging parents, PTAs and school site councils to be highly involved in implementing projects that meet local needs.”

The program will focus on bike paths as well as “The Walking School Bus,” where a designated parent takes turns walking a designated route with a group of children, stopping at designated spots to pick up and drop off children.  “The Bicycle Train” provides the bike paths and as well as bicycle safety clinics.

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