Walking and bicycling are common ways for children to travel to and from school, but are also effective ways to reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity, and other health issues. Florida Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a statewide program, funded by the Florida Department of Transportation, whose goal is to make it safer for more children to walk and bicycle to school. Florida SRTS funds projects that address unsafe or lack of infrastructure, as well as programs that promote walking and bicycling through education/encouragement programs aimed at children, parents, and the community.
Since children are not born with the knowledge and skills needed to interact with traffic while walking and bicycling, it is essential to teach them the rules of the road, how to navigate streets and intersections, and how to be safer while walking and biking. Training children how to be competent and safer pedestrians and bicyclists gives them lifelong safety skills they will use throughout their lives. While teaching safe walking and biking habits should start at home, schools and other educational centers have an opportunity to reach all demographics of children with this valuable safety education.
In addition to providing pedestrian and bicycle safety education lessons, Florida SRTS funds regional programs to train teachers and others how to implement programs in their schools and communities.