Why Your Kids Should Walk or Bike to School This Year

What is Safe Routes Utah? 

Safe Routes Utah is driven by our mission to help children get to and from school safely while motivating children to experience the benefits of walking or biking. We are a resource for parents, guardians and school officials to learn and share the importance of choosing active methods of transportation whenever possible and knowing how to stay safe along the way. We also provide resources like safety tips, safe routes maps, crossing guard training guides, school assemblies and grants to help improve infrastructure that makes walking and biking safer for all children across the state. 

What are the benefits of walking and biking?

Physical benefits: Choosing active methods of transportation gives your kids a way to get moving during the day. Walking or biking instead of riding in a vehicle promotes habits of physical wellness they can carry with them for a lifetime. Daily physical activity also improves bone, muscle and joint strength, while reducing the risk of chronic disease and obesity. 

teacher and multiethnic kids sculpturing figures with colorful plasticine at table in classroom

Cognitive benefits: Studies show that students who are healthy, awake and alert perform better at school. By walking or biking in the morning, your student will be more attentive and ready to learn when they arrive at school. Physical activity also improves attention, memory skills and brain health. 

Environmental benefits: More people walking and biking means fewer cars on the road and less idling in the school drop-off line. Utah’s air quality suffers from the effects of pollution year-round and we’re constantly working to reduce our negative environmental impacts. You can make a difference by cutting down on your carbon emissions and letting your kids walk or bike to school. 

Economic benefits: When you spend less time in the car, you spend less money on gas! If your kids can walk or bike, you’ll save money that you can put toward a family activity that’s more fun than dropping your kids off at school. 

What’s a Safe Routes Plan?

A Safe Routes Plan includes a routing map and accompanying description of the safest routes for children to take when walking or biking to school. Utah law requires that every elementary, middle and junior high school creates a Safe Routes Plan and reviews it annually. Plans must be reviewed and accepted by the school, district, city, county and The Utah Department of Transportation before it is distributed by the school’s principal.

How do I find a Safe Routes Plan for my child’s school? 

  • 1. Start at the Safe Routes Utah homepage
  • 2. Click “Find Your School’s Safe Routes Map”
  • 3. Choose your district from the dropdown menu
  • 4. Choose your school from the dropdown menu 
  • 5. View the Safe Routes Plan and choose the best route to school; you may need to map out your own safe route from your house to the start of your school’s safe route 

What if there isn’t a Safe Routes Plan listed for my child’s school? 

If there isn’t a Safe Routes Plan for your school available on our website, contact your school’s administration to access one.