Education is a broad strategy that is directed toward all members of the community: students, parents, drivers, neighborhoods etc. These activities teach pedestrian, bicycle and traffic safety, as well as the benefits of active transport to school. Education involves a combination of activities. For example, students who are learning pedestrian and bicycle safety will need practical experience such as bicycle obstacle courses or supervised walks through the neighborhood.
Parents are a vital asset to education. They influence student behavior because of their position as a primary teacher in the student’s life and affect the environment as drivers near the school. Drivers have the power to make the school a safe or unsafe walking space. Safe Routes to School educates drivers of the importance of obeying traffic laws and slowing down near schools.
The importance is clear: As vehicle speed increases, so does the pedestrian injury severity and the likelihood of death. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle moving 20 mph has a 5 percent chance of dying. As vehicle speed increases to 30 mph and 40 mph, the likelihood that the pedestrian will be killed increases to 45 percent and 85 percent, respectively, according to the National Center for Safe Routes to School.
Neighbors are also key partners for education. For instance, neighbors can help remove environmental barriers to walking by, keeping sidewalks clear, pruning plants and shrubs and keeping unleashed pets off of the designated route.