A special event is usually a one-day activity to celebrate walking and bicycling to school. Most often, families walk or bicycle from home or from a group meeting area. Signs, balloons and banners can be used to create an air of excitement and celebration. When they arrive at the school, participants might be greeted by the school principal or a school mascot and receive snacks and small gifts like stickers. A press conference, songs, flag salute or other group activity round out the event.

Volunteers help plan the event, walk with children and give out items at the school. These events offer the added benefits of bringing visibility to SRTS and related issues as well as educating families and the broader community about the benefits and joy of walking and bicycling safely to school. They may be held once a year, such as International Walk to School Day, or several times during the year.

International Walk to School Day
International Walk to School Day, held in October each year, joins children and adults from around the world to celebrate walking and bicycling to school.

This event can be a fun way to kick off a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. In fact, many participating communities use the event to work towards creating safe environments that support walking and bicycling every day. A survey of U.S. Walk to School Coordinators in 2002 found that 43 percent were working towards making permanent changes in conjunction with their event, and that percentage is on the rise.[1][2] In 2005, over one-half of registered events were part of ongoing activities at the school to promote bicycling and walking.[3]

Since it began in the US in 1997, participation both within the US and in other countries has grown every year. The event’s popularity led to the establishment of October as Walk to School Month, giving communities the flexibility to celebrate on a single day, week or throughout the month. Information about how to register for and plan a local event can be found at www.walktoschool.org.

Walking School Buses and Bicycle Trains