SR2S Newsletter Spring 2024

SR2S Newsletter Spring 2024

Research/Scan compliments of Dr. Chuck Hillman, University of Illinois

Did you know physical activity encourages greater brain activity as well as general health? And that’s not all. Stanford Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman recommends viewing morning sunlight to increase metabolism, focus, sleep, and immune system function. Movement and sunlight are among his top five activities to improve performance and health.

So, when you and your child walk or ride a bike to school, you’re getting a triple benefit: a more relaxed morning commute, a dose of brain stimulation, and an immune system boost. It could be the single best thing you do for yourself and your child every day.

A Walk & Roll Revolution

To raise awareness of how physical activity makes kids healthier and happier, Safe Routes interviewed Juliet Starrett, a Marin mom, co-founder and CEO of The Ready State, and coauthor (with her husband Kelly) ofThe New York Times best-seller Built to Move, about how she started a walking school bus at her children’s elementary school in Terra Linda.

Juliet found out that in the 1970s, 85 percent of children walked or rode a bike to school. Then, she and her husband decided to set the alarm clock 20 minutes earlier to have enough time to walk to school with their two daughters. That simple decision created a cascade of benefits.

“The walk was an opportunity to spend some uninterrupted, quality time together without cell phones,” she said. “Our kids picked flowers or looked at worms on our walk. It was a very different experience than entering from the drop-off lane.”

Juliet soon read about “walking school buses,” a concept advocated by the federal Department of Transportation, to encourage children and parents to walk to school together. She made a flyer advertising it at Vallecito and outlined meeting places and a route where parents could drop off their kids “rain or shine.”

At first, about 10 children joined the Starretts on their route. Over time, however, more families came along and some parents parked and walked if they lived far away. Friendships formed. On its biggest days, the bus included 40 people.

“Parents would say, ‘I can’t walk because I have a full-time job,’’ Juliet said. “But I also had a full-time job and I still had time to walk in the morning and get to the city by 9 am. It takes a little bit of intention and a little bit of a mindset change to make walking a part of your day.”

Safe Routes to Schools Program Director, Gwen Froh, is set to attend the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C., in mid-March. Her mission? To showcase Marin’s e-bike education programs nationally. Froh earned a special invitation from the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) due to the Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC) and Safe Routes to Schools’ early provision of e-bike safety classes for teens.

“Two years ago, when I reached out to the LAB and our national Safe Routes to Schools partners to ask if anyone had developed an e-bike safety curriculum for students, no one came forward. Concerns about teen e-bike use were percolating throughout the county and we wanted to act quickly to address them.”

Froh and her team started researching the laws governing e-bike use and the necessary skills for tweens and teens to safely ride them on our streets and pathways.  

The Safe Routes’ Lead Instructor, Tyler Randazzo, researched different kinds of e-bikes, delving into various brands and their capabilities to exceed the maximum speed allowed for under 16-year-olds. A red flag was raised when some Class 2 manufacturers were hiding the recommended age of use of 16 and above in their fine print.

Froh adds, “Tyler kept hearing from students in class that they knew how to switch the throttle bikes to exceed the maximum 20 mph speed limit regulated by CA law.” 

Froh and Randazzo provide dedicated e-bike education in middle schools and teach MCBC’s Teen E-bike Smart Marin classes providing “on-road” education.  “We teach students how to stop quickly and to maneuver around obstacles on devices that are extremely heavy and travel at twice the speed as conventional bikes for this age group.”

If you’re planning to buy your student an e-bike, make it a Class 1.

Matt Willis, MD, MPH – Marin County Public Health Officer

The Safe Routes team also reached out to parents about safety concerns.  Students and parents have been informed of the laws governing e-bike use, including which devices are not considered e-bikes.  These include those that can exceed 20 mph on motor power alone (no pedaling); the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration considers them “motor vehicles” instead of e-bikes. That’s why the fastest e-bikes are “out of class” and require a license and registration for those over 15 years of age.

Froh concludes, “Marin Safe Routes to Schools has worked successfully with school communities to get more students on bikes for the past 24 years.  As dedicated cycling advocates, we will always prioritize children’s safety first and foremost.  We are committed to guiding parents in making informed, legal decisions based on our extensive professional experience teaching kids for over two decades.  I look forward to carrying this message nationally.”  

Chart from Marin Health and Human Services Dashboard, (October 7, 2023 – Feb. 25, 2024).  Data shows that 10 to 15-year-olds riding e-bikes are six times more likely to have a serious crash than any other age group.  Serious crashes have included severe head trauma and pelvic injury comparable to what occurs when crashing a motorcycle.

Jeff Shankle, a parent from Rancho Elementary, hates to sit in traffic. That is why, for a long time he rode his two sons to school on his cargo bicycle or ran with them to school. Last year, when he thought his children were ready, the three of them started to ride their own bikes.

Inspired by the sight of the family group, some neighborhood kids started asking if they could join the fun. They had organically formed a bike train, which is a group of children on their bikes led by an adult. Due to their persistence and organization, in 2023, the group of eight won the Safe Routes to Schools Bike Hero Award.

Shankle explains how the bike train has evolved over time. They started including others last year, when his sons were in second grade, using word of mouth. The Shankles know many families in the neighborhood, so the children would ask others or they got asked themselves. The father of two explains that, after that, he would reach out to the parents and talk about how it would work. Eventually, he got so many inquiries that hejust started copying and pasting the same text message.

Shankle emphasizes that getting others to be part of his bike train has not been a hard sell at all: “Really, I think, children motivate each other!” he said. “They just want to be with their friends. As much as we parents would like to think we are that persuasive, it is really the kids that keep each other coming back.”

The dad has found that, in order to propagate the number of bike trains to the school, it is important to invite families interested in starting their own to join in at least once. He feels that that offers the newcomers the confidence that they can do it too, with the certainty that riding in a big group is much safer than doing it alone.

How to Start a Bike Train or Walking School Bus

On March 28, 6:00-7:00 pm, elementary school parents and caregivers are invited to attend a Zoom meeting to learn the basics for starting a bike train or walking school bus.  Veteran volunteers will offer tips for organizing and timing your route, how to recruit other parents to help lead the group, and how to participate if you live far from school.  RSVP:  [email protected]

Right on time for the good weather, most elementary schools in Marin County are ready for the Safe Routes to Schools’ Rainbow Contest. The contest will be conducted on April 17 and 24 and May 1 and 8.

Pre-stamped cards will be handed to thousands of students on the first day, stamped during the following contest dates, and finally collected on May 8. Parent volunteers and school administrators will use the returned cards to conduct a drawing for up to two Razor scooters per school site.

In sponsoring a weekly event, Safe Routes to Schools hopes to help create a healthy habit and send a message that walking and rolling to school is easy and sustainable.

Nominations for the Safe Routes Bike Hero Award are now open until May 31st. Bike Heroes are great “roll” models: They are students who get up early to ride regularly, inspire others to bike, obey all rules of the road, and have FUN biking. Parents, administrators, teachers, and friends are invited to nominate their favorite student cyclist for the county-wide award. Two nominated elementary school students and two middle school students will be selected in early June and will be awarded $50 gift cards.

Nominate your BIKE HERO HERE!
View past 2023 winners

Grease up those chains for National Bike to School Day on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.  All Marin public and private schools are encouraged to join the day of celebration benefiting healthy students and the planet.  Come one and all – even those who live too far, by parking and rolling (or walking) a short distance to school.  Volunteers will hand out reflective, neon stickers to the small pedalers while other prizes will be available for the middle and high schoolers at participating schools.  

Strategic Energy Innovation (SEI) is now partnering with Safe Routes to Schools at Marin’s Title I schools where the urgency to increase active and shared modes of travel is a priority.

“Because SEI is already working with students in many of Safe Routes schools, this partnership will allow for increased awareness of our mission of safety for all students,” said Gwen Froh, Safe Routes to Schools Program Director.

The new partner is a natural fit for Safe Routes to Schools, given that it provides leadership training and guidance to students who want to help implement different programs in their campuses. “Students are often great ambassadors and can effectively promote the Safe Routes to Schools programs,” Froh points out. Through SEI’s partnership, for example, students at Hamilton have already completed a walk audit to provide input on safety needs along routes to their campus.

Alexis Fineman, SEI Associate Director, explains that her organization is partnering with Safe Routes to Schools to build student agency and leadership skills for transportation. She points out that SEI’s expanded program, Youth Leading Active Communities (YLAC), is designed to engage students at Marin schools that present obstacles to high levels of active transportation. SEI’s goal is to promote key elements of the program into the classroom, including the identification of suggested routes and support for active transportation across campuses.

The two organizations had previously partnered on a project at Terra Linda High School in 2015.

The City of Novato has a new School Travel Working Group, formed to explore the barriers and opportunities for green travel and to develop programs that would best motivate Novato families to walk, roll, and carpool to campus. Since yellow bus service to schools was cut over a decade ago, many families got into the habit of driving students to campus.    

To address the high rate of school-related traffic, Safe Routes to Schools has partnered with the City of Novato’s Sustainability Coordinator, the Novato School District communications specialist, Sustainable Schools, and the Complete Streets and Pathways Oversight committee members. The team’s goal is to provide access to safe and healthy travel for all students.  Traffic reduction is instrumental to this goal. The committee, created in late 2023, circulated a parent survey and held a mapping workshop for all Novato elementary schools. The group will determine the best strategies for increasing active travel in Novato, including exploring high-priority infrastructure improvements.

Partnerships strengthen the Safe Routes to Schools programs. The adage “it takes a village” definitely applies to changing travel behavior. The systemic approach to Safe Routes to Schools – education, enforcement, engineering, and encouragement – has proven successful time and again. In bringing together all these entities, Safe Routes to Schools and its partners multiply the ability to reach and influence the community.

Last year, fourth grader Myrioline Toussant heard an announcement over the loudspeaker at her school, Ross Valley Charter, that made her heart race.

 “They said I won a bicycle. I felt so happy,” she said.

 The bicycle, part of a donation to Safe Routes to Schools made by Richmond bike manufacturer Cleary Bikes, was the raffle prize on National Bike to School Day last spring. 

 Myrioline says it has five gears and is black with pink on the wheels. “I love the colors,” she said.

 Recently Myrioline joined the  “bike train” organized once a month by parents at Ross Valley Charter and Manor elementary schools (learn more about the Safe Routes webinar on March 28, from 6:00-7:00 pm – How to Form a Bike Train). Her uncle drops her off at the meet-up spot about one mile away from school. She says that when she is unable to join the bike train, she carpools or takes the bus with friends instead.   

 The bike is the first Myrioline has owned. She learned to ride on her brother’s bike but it had training wheels. “It felt good to ride my bike the first time,” she said.

 “She was the perfect person to win it,” said Page Hersey, director of Ross Valley Charter, who made the announcement over the loudspeaker. “She works so hard and her family are great members of our community. We were thrilled.”

Over 200 students from Kent Middle School walked or biked to school on February 16 for the opportunity to win one of 50 spots for a waffle party sponsored by Kent Eco-Action Club, Zero Waste Marin and Safe Routes to Schools. The waffles, topped with whipped cream, were served to the winners during lunch time.

To win, the participants approached the welcome table and pulled out a ticket from a bag containing raffle tickets with either a sad or a happy face. The recipients of the happy face were invited to the waffle party. Five toasters and 12 students working non-stop served up the fun.

Sad face? Students were instructed to go to the Zero Waste Marin table where they could learn about waste reduction and have the opportunity to win water bottles and bamboo cutlery.

  • Ross Valley – Friday, April 19, 2024 at 10 AM 
  • Novato – Wednesday, April 24, 2024 at 5 PM
  • Kentfield – Thursday April 18, 2024 at 9:30 AM
  • Reed – Thursday, May 2, 2024 at 10 AM
  • West Marin – Tuesday, May 7, 2024 at 5 PM
  • San Rafael – Wednesday, May 1 at 5 PM
  • Sausalito-Marin City – Thursday, April 25, 2024 at 5 PM
  • Larkspur-Corte Madera – Thursday, May 9, 2024 at 4 PM
  • Ross – Monday, April 22, 2024 at 10 AM
  • Mill Valley – Thursday, May 9, 2024 at 9:30 AM 

Thousands of students across Marin County have braved the rain and, sometimes the cold, to benefit from the cycling and pedestrian safety classes offered by Safe Routes to Schools in 2024. Even many more children participated in the February and March encouragement events, during which they collected incentives and raffle prizes. Both the education and encouragement programs have been received with joy and plenty of smiles.

SR2S Newsletter Winter 2023-2024

SR2S Newsletter Winter 2023-2024

The meeting will be at the TAM office, 900 5th Street, San Rafael
from 10:30 am -12:30 pm. Parent volunteers and family liaisons are welcome.

RSVP at [email protected] or [email protected]

We are still beaming from the tremendous embrace of Ruby Bridges Day hosted at 42 elementary schools throughout Marin. A huge thank you to our volunteers, principals, and teachers who made record numbers’ possible. Similarly, International Walk and Roll to School Days had jaw-dropping numbers of families walking and rolling to school. We were honored to have the Marin IJ cover both events at Pleasant Valley and Loma Verde schools.

Lots of buddies walked, biked, rode the bus, and carpooled together for increased fun and safety. Read about the Buddy Up contest to learn the winners.

(Photo) Buddy-Up winners from Rancho Elementary)


Our outreach is growing thanks to the collective efforts of so many of you. Let us close this semester by acknowledging the ongoing dedication and partnership of our 58 schools, including middle and high schools. The ripple effectiveness of Safe Routes to Schools is also due to the support from city officials, neighbors, local sustainability groups and many, many more who are committed to bringing healthy and safe travel to all students.

We are one community in this endeavor.

It is an honor to work beside you to serve your children. Thank you for giving us that privilege.

– Gwen Froh,
Program Director, and Marin Safe Routes to Schools Team

With an impressive student turnout at 42 elementary schools, Safe Routes to Schools celebrated its first ever county-wide Ruby Bridges Walk and Roll to School Day on Nov. 15. The event highlighted the significance of Ruby Bridges, a pivotal figure in the civil rights movement during the 1960s.

Ruby Bridges made history as the first African American child to attend an all-white elementary school in New Orleans. At the age of six, she bravely faced hostility not only during her daily walk to class, but also when all her classmates left the school upon her arrival.

“This celebration provides a unique opportunity to teach students about equity and the civil rights movement while making connections between transportation and racial justice in our work,” said Gwen Froh, Safe Routes to Schools Program Director.
Prior to the event, all elementary school room teachers read Ruby’s inspirational story to their students, to foster empathy and encourage them to participate in the event.

Deena Blas, a parent volunteer from Pleasant Valley, said, “Ruby Bridges Walk and Roll to School Day is a call to action to continue our journey to end racism and all forms of bullying in our schools.” Blas also highlighted the environmental benefits of reducing vehicular traffic on the roads. Blas’ school had a turnout of over 200 students proudly waving purple Ruby Bridges Flags. The Marin Independent Journal covered the event at Pleasant Valley. To read the story, click HERE.

Despite unfavorable weather forecasts, schools remained steadfast in holding their event. Loma Verde parent volunteer Kelly Smith remarked, “If Ruby was able to take crowds of yelling people, screaming threats, and getting things thrown at her, we can take a little rain.”

Venetia Valley’s parent volunteer, Heather Crossen, echoed Smith’s sentiment, stating, “Ruby overcame all obstacles in her route to school every day. What’s a little rain to us? Maybe we’ll just have a bad hair day.”
Bahia Vista Elementary reported the participation of approximately 250 students, with San Rafael Police Sergeant Scott Ingels distributing incentives to the walkers and rollers.

The celebration extended beyond Marin County, with the American Automobile Association (AAA) reporting that over 650,000 students nationwide walked in honor of Ruby Bridges.

Follow the rainbow to a healthier planet and less traffic congestion. This spring, Safe Routes will hold a “Rainbow Quest” contest to encourage students to walk, bike, carpool, or bus to school. The spring contest gives students who actively travel to school the chance to participate in a raffle at their school, with prizes provided by Safe Routes. This year’s raffle prizes will be scooters and helmets.

“The contest is a fun way to encourage students to cultivate the habit of walking or riding to school. Once habits are set, kids become walkers and riders for life,” said Monica Leifer, Safe Routes’ bilingual volunteer coordinator.

Schools will hold four weekly events on April 17, April 24, May 1, and May 8 as a lead-up to National Bike to School Day on May 8. On contest days, students who use active modes of transportation or who carpool or bus will get a stamp on their contest card. On May 8, students who show a stamped card will be able to enter the raffle at their school.

The Rainbow Quest contest for 2024 follows last year’s J.E.D.I. contest. Over 3,000 students participated last year.

Other events planned for the spring include Valentine’s Day (February 7), Dr. Seuss Day (March 6), and a Bike Hero contest in May. Bike Heroes are students who bike regularly to school and are nominated for recognition by parents or school administrators.

The 2023 Buddy Up Contest had every age group represented from kindergarteners to high schoolers, fostering a sense of camaraderie and promoting sustainable transportation habits. A total of thirty-eight Buddy Up groups, representing 17 different schools, participated in this heartwarming event that unfolded from October 1 to November 15.

To enter the competition, parents and students nominated groups of students who regularly walk, bike, carpool, or take the bus together. The narratives shared by the participants painted a vivid picture of their journeys to school, with phrases like “they feel stronger together,” “the bigger kids help the younger ones,” “they are chatting all the way,” “there’s fresh air,” “they have a sense of camaraderie,” and “it is fun to be with friends.”

Six outstanding buddy groups emerged as winners, each receiving $50 gift cards to be used for a memorable outing together. Safe Routes to Schools extends its heartfelt thanks to all the parents who contributed nominations and words of encouragement. For a dose of inspiration, you can explore these touching stories on our website at


  • Hidden Valley Elementary, ride bikes daily: Julia (4th grade), Milla (4th grade), Olivia (4th grade)
  • Neil Cummins Elementary, walk daily: Henry (3rd grade), Eloise (3rd grade), Natalie (3rd grade)
  • Rancho Elementary, ride daily: Amalia (1st grade), Theo, Sol, Alison, Isla, Karol (3rd grade), Wendy (4th grade), Abraham, Haden (5th grade)
  • Kent Middle, ride daily: Mary (5th grade), Liv (5th grade), Simone (5th grade)
  • Miller Creek Middle, ride daily: Nicholas (6th grade), Charlie (6th grade), James (6th grade), Sidney (6th grade), Jakob (6th grade)
  • San Marin High School, carpool daily: Scottie-Marie (9th grade), Parker (9th grade), Gael (9th grade)

The Buddy Up Contest not only celebrates the spirit of togetherness but also recognizes the positive impact of shared commutes on our communities.

Before attending a bike class taught by Safe Routes to Schools Marin, Miller Creek sixth grader Danella Chinchilla Contreras had a fear of bicycles. As a small child, she had once tried to ride a bike, fallen over, and broken her foot. The memory of a subsequent hospital visit was all she could recall from the experience.

“I was really nervous [about falling again],” Danella said, about attending the bike class. Safe Routes to Schools offers a class on bike handling, safety, and equipment to every Marin sixth grader as part of their physical education class. Students who are new to cycling can practice with an instructor in a “Learn to Ride” group at almost any bike class.

Safe Routes instructor Chris Allen took Danella aside to practice balancing, and then peddling, on a bike. It took Danella about two attempts with Chris keeping the bike steady before she started riding on her own. “I learned really fast,” she said happily.

“It makes what I do out here feel so great,” said Chris, who joined Safe Routes this year and is an experienced mountain and BMX rider. “I’ve never seen a happier kid in one of our bike rodeos.”

Danella described the many ways learning to ride has given her confidence. She said she is teaching her five-year-old cousin to ride and that she hopes Christmas this year will include a bike of her own. She is also thinking about riding to school instead of getting driven by her father. “I’m really happy about being able to ride,” she said.

In October, Marin Health & Human Services started tracking e-bike related injuries reported by Marin Emergency Medical Services. Within one month, 71% of bicycle-related crashes needing parametric assistance involved children ages 10 to 19 riding e-bikes. Read the County of Marin Press Release here.

Details are unknown, but we must not assume it was the e-biker’s fault. However, it’s a wake-up call for parents thinking about purchasing an e-bike for their children this holiday season. Speed matters in the severity of injury.

“We fully support getting kids and adults on bikes, including e-bikes, as a healthy and fun way to get around independently,” said Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis. “The message is really about doing it more safely.”

In a presentation for Novato parents, Safe Routes’ Program Director Gwen Froh clarified the varying classes of e-bikes that parents might consider buying. “We have heard parents say they have been hoodwinked into gifting a Class II throttle e-bike to their child. Safe Routes’ goal is to help them make informed decisions by dispelling myths about E-bikes.

Myth 1: Class I e-bikes cannot travel up hills. Not true. One needs to pedal to assist the motor, but hills can be climbed just fine with a little bit of effort. Parents are therefore being pressured into buying a “cooler” Class II throttle e-bike where pedaling is optional.

Myth 2: Class II throttle e-bikes are manufactured to only go 20 mph. Not true either. Many of the moped-type Class II can be altered to go faster than 20 mph and some students say that they know how to do this or have tried.

Myth 3: CA law does not have age restriction on Class I or II e-bikes, so kids of all ages can ride them. If a student is unable to ride a non-motorized bike that averages 10 mph for their age bracket, then students should not be allowed to ride an e-bike that travels twice as fast, takes longer to stop, and is harder to maneuver. Class III is illegal for students under 16.

What about passengers? A passenger makes an e-bike heavier and harder to stop and maneuver. Passengers should use seats designed for them, follow the manufacturer’s limit and wear helmets for safety.

Students have been reported riding popular brands such as Super 73 which can be switched to an “off road” mode to exceed 28 mph. As such, these are dangerous and illegal on roads and pathways. The manufacturer does not recommend them for children under 16 years old.

According to Froh, Safe Routes’ educators have always told parents that they must determine if their child is road-ride-ready; They bear the financial, legal and moral responsibility for what can happen. For this reason, they need to evaluate their students’ ability to drive any device – a bicycle, scooter, e-bike, e-scooter, and ultimately a car. It is imperative that parents are aware of their child’s ability to stand up to peer pressure and ensure their student is properly trained to navigate the nuances of riding the streets.

Additional Parent Resources:

Safe Routes to Schools Parent E-bike Info flyer
(assessment for determining if student is ready to ride an e-bike)

Marin County Bicycle Coalition E-bike Buyers Guide
(includes brands that are recommended)

Electric Bicycle Safety and Training Program, California Highway Patrol
(on-line, interactive education tutorial)

League of American Bicyclist E-Bike Guide To Safe Riding (informational and educational videos)

Important Tips!

  • Track your students’ speed: The Life360 app allows you to see how fast your student is driving their bike or car.
  • Protect your student’s head! E-bikers are recommended to wear a helmet with a Dutch NTA-8776 certification. Helmets with this certification pass a higher drop test to dissipate energy in crashes at higher speeds.
  • Make your student seen! Lights on the front and back of e-bikes should be on at all times. Bright clothing will help other drivers see them on the roads.
Parents, educators and Safe Routes to Schools came together in a unique way this Fall to address increasing student safety needs at Bahia Vista Elementary, located in the Canal. Safe Routes to School normally teaches just the younger students how to cross a street. However, in just one week in November, the organization had all of the 2nd to 5th graders – over 300 students – learn and then practice real life pedestrian skills along Bahia Way.

Safe Routes delivered the ‘Stop, Look and Listen’ curriculum, which includes a walking field trip. In 15 separate classes, students watched a video about children helping each other make difficult decisions on when and how to cross a street. Safe Routes instructors then led each class on a “Walk Around the Block,” so students could practice what they learned about awareness, driveways, and parked cars.

The need for this marathonic teaching was made clear in April 2023, when the family center from Bahia Vista contacted Safe Routes to express their worry about many children dashing alone across Bahia way without even checking for passing traffic.

Safe Routes worked with school administrators to bring all interested parties together. The community expressed serious concerns at two very well-attended meetings. They conveyed their frustration about fellow parents who speed in front of the school, double park, and even drop off students in the middle of the street.

At that point, it was clear that education for safe travel was critical. Also, a walk audit was conducted to look for possible solutions regarding the infrastructure around campus. Very quickly, traffic engineers from Parametrix proposed a new pedestrian crossing and additional signage along Bahia Way. Safe Routes to Schools is currently looking for funding to implement these projects.

It has been eight years since Deb Hubsmith’s passing at the age of 46, but her footprint on this world is proving indeleble. Her memoir, The Wind at Her Back, just released in October 2023 describes how in 1999, Hubsmith started Safe Routes to Schools with her friend Wendi Kallins, who still works for the organization as the Task Force Coordinator. Hubsmith also launched the Marin County Bicycle Coalition.

Hubsmith’s memoir, authored by her husband, Andy Peri, and one of her best friends, Amity Hotchkiss, recounts how she contributed to change the landscape of human-powered transportation in Marin County and eventually, in the rest of the U.S.
Through Hubsmith’s never-take-no-for-an-answer attitude, Safe Routes to Schools turned into a national organization by securing funding from Congress. “She would convince people with a combination of grace, encyclopedic knowledge, and a tenacity that wouldn’t quit,” said Kallins. She adds that Husbmith worked very hard to find support from all parties involved in infrastructure projects in Marin.

The memoir recounts her remarkable life including her tragic death from Leukemia. This is a biography of a woman who immersed herself in nature, inspired by her love of planet Earth, for which she had a deep reverence and fierce dedication.

In the book’s foreword, U.S. Congressman Jared Hoffman says, “Throughout my years in the California State Assembly, Deb was my go-to authority for anything bike or alternative transportation-related…With this intimate accounting of her life, Andy and Amity share Deb’s remarkable and contagious devotion to this planet and its people.”

A copy of the book can be found at

A Facebook page with a list of events is here:

  • Kentfield – Thursday, January 11, 2024 at 9:30 AM
  • Ross Valley – Friday, January 12 at 10:00 AM
  • Novato – Wednesday, January 17 at 5:00 PM
  • Sausalito-Marin City – Thursday, January 18 at 5:00 PM
  • Ross – Monday, January 22 at 10:00 AM
  • San Rafael – Wednesday, January 24 at 5:00 PM
  • Reed – Thursday, January 25 at 10:00 AM
  • Miller Creek – Monday, January 29 at 3:30 PM
  • Mill Valley – Thursday, February 1 at 9:30 AM
  • West Marin – Tuesday, February 6 at 5:00 PM
  • Larkspur-Corte Madera – Thursday, February 8 at 5:00 PM


Contact Wendi Kallins if you are interested in joining a task force or if you would like a copy of archived task force meeting notes.


SR2S Newsletter Fall 2023

SR2S Newsletter Fall 2023

Join thousands of students who walk, bike, scooter, ride the bus, and carpool to school. 

Traffic reduction is key to calmer, safer streets. This encourages more families to walk and bike to schools, further reducing traffic. You can help! 

Safe Routes to Schools has several fun activities planned throughout the school year to keep momentum going. Consider Buddying Up with friends and come to a welcome table to get a prize when Walk and Roll Wednesdays are celebrated once per month. The first Walk and Roll Wednesday welcome table is September 13. Mood changing pencils will be handed out to thank the walkers and rollers for doing their part to create safer streets and a healthier planet. 

EVERY STEP YOU TAKE helps reduce traffic and invigorates your student for a day of learning, even if it’s only once per week or only a few blocks. Here is a simple way everyone can be part of the solution, even for those who live far away:

Park and Walk a Block for Your Grade (carpoolers encouraged to do so too)
• K-1st graders – Park and Walk 1 block
• 2nd graders – Park and Walk 2 blocks
• 3rd graders – Park and Walk 3 blocks
• 4th and 5th graders – Park and Walk 4 or more blocks

Start small to form habits: Get up and get out to walk and roll at least one day per week to form a consistent routine with your child. Try to Walk and Roll EVERY Wednesday to start. Before long, your student will look forward to walking hand in hand with you, exploring, and forming memories together.

The Safe Routes to Schools BUDDY UP! contest was a great hit last fall and will return again this year. Buddy Up! is a great way to start the year with friendship and fun on the way to school, and kids can also win valuable rewards by participating. If your students have a travel “buddy”, they are more likely to want to get up a little earlier to walk, bike, take the bus, or carpool to school together. Additionally, there is safety in numbers and groups are more easily seen by drivers. Best of all, friendships and memories are formed by walking and rolling with others.

Participation is easy. Starting now, parents can sign up their group of two or more students from neighboring families to travel to or from school. O Sign up using this Buddy Up Entry Form, and don’t forget to tell us how the students met, what they like about traveling together, and any compelling fun story we can share.

The contest runs until October 31. At the end of the contest Safe Routes to Schools will select five winning BUDDY UP! groups to receive $50 gift cards.

Here is one heartwarming quote from Michelle Wilcox, the mother of one of the Bacich students who won last year:

“This group of third graders has been riding to and from school and affectionately been nicknamed “The Peloton” by neighbors who witness their numbers swell as they pick up more and more friends along the way to Bacich. They’re always looking out for each other, on the road and at school. They love being in a large group because it makes it easy to maintain the habit of riding every day, even when one or two people can’t make it. There’s always someone (and more often lots of people) to ride with!”

For the first time, Safe Routes to Schools is rolling out Ruby Bridges Walk and Roll to School Day countywide on November 15. All 42 subscribing elementary schools are encouraged to participate in the event.

Safe Routes will provide its volunteers and school administrators with all publicity and supplies for this special event. Schools can include not only the walkers, but also those students who prefer to roll, take the bus, park and walk, or carpool.

Back in the 1950s, Ruby Bridges was a six-year old African American girl in Louisiana who was assigned to attend an all-white educational institution. She endured verbal abuse from bystanders during her daily walk to class, and most of her white classmates were pulled out of school after she started attending. Ruby and her parents persevered, and over time, the school was successfully desegregated. Now Ruby is a teacher dedicated to inspiring others.

Last year, Bayside Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy in Sausalito celebrated the achievements of Ruby Bridges by walking to campus. “Eight students from our middle school traveled to our elementary school to host the event. Heavy rain occurred on that day so we could not hold the session outdoors, but our students walked from classroom to classroom, promoting Ruby’s story and the Safe Routes mission,” said Phillip Logan, Community School Director with the Sausalito-Marin City School District.

According to AAA, last year 343,000 students from 1,400 schools around the United States took part in Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day.

As Safe Routes to Schools’ new Volunteer Coordinator, Mira is excited to join forces with dedicated parent volunteers at elementary schools all across Marin to make walking and rolling to school a healthy habit.

Mira brings a background in marketing writing and project management to Safe Routes to Schools. She has worked in communications and outreach with a number of nonprofit organizations including the University of San Francisco and the YMCA of the East Bay. She is especially appreciative of the opportunity Safe Routes to Schools provides to build stronger school communities.

A Marin Native and Novato resident, Mira loves to bike and walk around her community, often in company with Russ, her Australian Shepherd. She has two children who attend Novato schools, where she also volunteers. Her most memorable cycling adventure was spending two months touring South Africa with her husband.

Please drop Mira an email and introduce yourself or let her know if you have any questions or concerns: [email protected].

As e-bikes and e-scooters have surged in popularity with students in Marin, so has public outcry over concerns for students’ safety. School administrators, city officials, and local law enforcement have been besieged by complaints about students traveling too fast, many without helmets, while swerving rapidly past cars and pedestrians on sidewalks not wide enough to handle them.

Two Marin communities have taken steps to mitigate unsafe behavior on hefty devices that allow children to travel at twice the speed students normally travel on non-motorized bikes or scooters.

The Ross School partnered with the Ross police department to develop a “Caught Being Kind” incentive program to award kindergarten through eighth grade students for good riding behavior. Ross law enforcement hands out Caught Being Kind cards for wearing helmets, riding slowly, and obeying the laws. The cards can be entered into a raffle drawing for ice cream, pizza, and other sought after gift cards. Ross teacher Ms. Caitlin Santin led her Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) students to create the safety campaign and a video to promote it.

In Mill Valley, where e-bikes are prevalent among the 600 middle and high school students that ride to school daily, Police Department Chief Rick Navarro is taking a different approach. After a year of outreach and education about wearing helmets and riding responsibly, the Mill Valley Police Department changed their local ordinance to give police authority to cite students for a diversion program, mandating that they attend a class taught by Safe Routes to Schools instructors. The teen class is part of Marin County Bicycle Coalitions’ E-Bike Smart Marin program and carries a $150 fee to attend. Twenty students will be attending the first class in Mill Valley on September 9.

Chief Navarro says, “Thank you again, for all that you are doing to allow students to be successful and safe. We in law enforcement truly appreciate the partnership.”

They are basically mini-motorcycles. I got hoodwinked into buying one.” Anonymous parent of a teen about Class II e-bike

Marin Safe Routes to Schools strongly discourages parents from purchasing Class 2 throttle e-bikes for children under the age of 16.

Many popular manufacturers of Class 2 e-bikes also only recommend them for teens 16 and over. Several states have already outlawed Class 2 e-bikes for students under 16, and California legislation is currently debating if our state’s law should be revised as well. Currently California law states that Class I (pedal assist) and Class 2 e-bikes are legal for children of any age, while Class 3 (throttle assist bikes that travel up to 28 mph) have an age restriction of 16 years and above. For parent e-bike safety tips, read here.

Securing the funds for the projects that make it safer to walk and roll to school is key to ensure that these projects are studied, designed, and ultimately built. Recently 11 projects throughout Marin County were awarded almost $20 million in grant funding from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s highly competitive Active Transportation Program and One Bay Area Grant program. A number of these projects will directly impact students’ abilities to walk and roll to school.
Five projects in San Rafael received funding through the grant programs. Over $8 million will be devoted to two projects in the Canal neighborhood. Some of them include the study of a pedestrian bridge across San Rafael Creek and the funding of walking and rolling improvements throughout the neighborhood, such as filling sidewalk gaps, improving lighting, and calming traffic. Other projects will study active transportation upgrades in North San Rafael and Southeast San Rafael and will make changes at the Second Street/Fourth Street intersection.
Corte Madera also received a $3.5 million funding for two projects. One of them will aim to close gaps in the active transportation network by improving the multi-use pathway on Wornum Drive and adding a cycle track on Nellen Avenue. The second project will focus on making improvements along Paradise Drive.
In Sausalito, half a million dollars will go towards studying bike lanes along Bridgeway from Princess Street to Richardson Street. This would fill a critical gap in the City’s active transportation network.
With all these recent wins, it is clear to see that Marin County is making strides to improve walking and rolling for its students.
Task Force ChangeTask Force Change

The Safe Routes Task Forces will take a fresh approach to engage the whole community in increasing green trips to and from school, thereby decreasing traffic congestion in the community.
At each task force meeting, we’ll use new, data-driven tools to determine the potential of each school to increase walking and rolling trips. These tools include dot maps, which use anonymized student data to show how many students live within walking or biking distance of school. We’ll also consider student survey results that show the different modes students use to get to and from school. These tools will allow the task forces to focus their attention on the best strategies for increasing green trips.

Safe Routes to Schools will also organize separate meetings with district principals to get their input on how best to increase green trips in their schools. Equity priority schools will have the opportunity to have separate meetings if parents are unable to attend task force meetings. Our new partners, Strategic Energy Innovations, will be developing leadership programs in those schools to engage the students.

Please come with your suggestions on how to increase access to walking, biking, and shared transportation choices for school communities. With your support, a culture of active and shared commute to schools can be realized with safer streets for students.

In only one year since their return to the Safe Routes to Schools program, the efforts of parent volunteers from Marin Primary School is paying off. They have seen a significant jump in the levels of participation in their Rock and Roll Wednesdays events. Last year, an average of 55 students walked or rolled to school with a record-setting 100-plus participants on some Wednesdays; this is an exceptionally high number for a private school where commutes are typically long.

“It was fun to see participants from our entire community show up on those mornings,” said Dana Cole, one of the parent volunteers who helped organize the events. “There was so much enthusiasm.”

Cole and her fellow volunteer, Catherine Hedrick, reignited the green travel campaign after the program lapsed at the school. They created enthusiasm for walking and rolling by adding a theme and dressing up. For November’s Walk and Roll, for example, they donned fuzzy hats in the shape of turkeys. After the holiday break, they turned hosting the events over to the students. Once a month, a different class added a spin of their own, creating the theme, prizes, or treats. One class hosted a spring flowers-themed Wednesday. Another used St. Patrick’s Day as their theme.

The incentives were key, acknowledged Cole and Hedrick. The PTA decided to add to the prizes offered by Safe Routes to School. And they had plenty of treats, like doughnut holes. “[They] were the real prize of the morning,” Hedrick said.

“We are hoping for another successful year and clear days ahead,” Cole said.

Bike trains for elementary school walkers and riders are a fun way to encourage healthy green travel. Parents Joey and Stacy Shepp from Manor Elementary have led an enthusiastic, two-mile bike train route for the past few years. Several meet-up locations en route encourage families to join in.

“[It’s] an exciting parade to school where the kids have fun waving to all the onlookers who smile back,” said Joey Shepp. Going above and beyond, the Shepps help their young riders practice responsible riding including observing traffic signs, using hand signals, and following bike lanes and sharrows, all while getting to school early to enjoy prizes from the monthly Walk and Roll Wednesday table.

Twice a year, the bike train becomes a real parade, with a fire truck and police car escort down Sir Francis Drake boulevard. And last year, the bike train added students from Ross Valley Charter.

Safe Routes to Schools has often been described as fostering community building, creating friendships and family connectedness through the simple pleasure of walking and rolling to school together. This sentiment is echoed by the Shepps. “It is a great way to be social with other parents and kids, establishing a face-to-face community that you just don’t get when you drive to school.”

According to the Shepps, more than half of Manor’s students participated in the school’s Walk and Roll Wednesday events last year. Joey Shepp adds, “when we make announcements about the Walk and Roll program at our morning school assemblies, the kids cheer with excitement and purpose. I believe many families have started biking and walking to school because of this program, and continue to make it a habit because their kids love the community and prizes. I consider Walk and Roll to be a core program of our school’s culture and I’m thrilled to be part of it.”

This article was originally published in the 2018/2019 Safe Routes to Schools evaluation report conducted by the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM). TAM conducts the comprehensive evaluation every three years. Here is the 2019/20 – 2021/22 Evaluation Report; the Shepps’ story can be found on page 36. [17 MB file]

SR2S Newsletter Summer 2023

SR2S Newsletter Summer 2023

Clockwise from top: Volunteer Erick Betancourt with students from Ross Valley Charter form a bike train to celebrate National Bike to School Day. | Lynwood student Hanna Jasson, 9, dressed as Yoda for National Bike to School Day and the end of the Return of the J.E..DI. challenge. | Marin student Rosario Mendoza is elated to be declared the winner of a Cleary bike on May 3. | Owen Wentzel at Miller Creek.

On the cold, rainy morning of May 3rd, over 3,000 students from 38 Marin schools walked and rolled to school to celebrate National Bike to School Day. The date also marked the grand finale of the Return of the J.E.D.I. Challenge, a three-month-long contest organized by Safe Routes to Schools.

National Bike to School Day is the second largest celebration of active transportation held by Safe Routes to Schools every year.

.Many schools went big on their celebrations this year: Reed, Bel Aire, Vallecito, Manor and Ross Valley Charter organized bike trains, Lynwood Elementary registered a 74% percent participation, and Loma Verde offered additional prizes for walkers and rollers. They represent just a few examples of the celebratory spirit during Bike to School Day in the County.

“Kids were really excited about the JEDI Challenge. The day before every event, I sent out a text to remind the parents and increase the participation. I think it was very fun,” noted Loma Verde Community Liaison Virginia Menzel.

.To participate in the challenge, students walked, biked, scooted, skated, rode the bus or carpooled to school and visited the Safe Routes’ welcome table, where parent volunteers handed them “J.E.D.I. cards.” These were stamped by the volunteers on every other Wednesday and entered into a drawing. Cleary Bikes, a Richmond-based kids’ bikes dealership, and Marin-based Mike’s Bikes donated one bike and one helmet respectively per school site.

“I am a single mom and it’s been hard for me to provide my daughter with many things,” said Thera Thompson, the mother of 11-year-old Jewel Argueta, a fifth grader from Olive Elementary who won one of the bikes. She notes that her daughter, in fact, did not own a bike. Thompson adds that, “Jewel has walked to school every day on her own for the last two years and it’s far, so I think this bike will help her with her independence.” Jewel will be using the bike to commute to Sinaloa Middle School next year.

Eight-year-old Brandon Rodas, a second grader from Loma Verde, had a gut feeling he was going to win the bike, according to his mom, Hilda Rodas. “He mentioned that in the morning and he called later from the school and told me, ‘I told you I was going to win it!’,” she said. Rodas added that she and her husband had been meaning to buy a new bike for Brandon for a while because the one he is using is way too small, but they also did not have the money to replace it.

“It’s been an inspiration seeing how excited the kids get for the group rides to school, many of them with smiles ear to ear going into their classes. These kids are our future adult commuters that are learning the importance of safe routes and the partnership needed between all road users to make it work. I’m really excited to continue working with parents and MCBC on this great program.”

Volunteer mechanics from the Bike Mobile fixed about 50 bicycles for free on Saturday, May 20th at Pickleweed Park in San Rafael. The event, organized by the Marin Bicycle Coalition and Safe Routes to Schools, demonstrated their commitment to the Canal community.

One of the goals of the event is to help low-income students restore their bikes so they can be enjoyed safely. This meant new tires, fresh brake pads, and chains, among other things. Student mechanic, Nayed Garcia, a two-time Bike Fest volunteer, said, “The event is incredibly empowering and it feels great to renew these bikes and then get to see them pedaled around the neighborhood all summer long.”

In addition, Safe Routes hosted a comprehensive bicycle safety class, attended by 30 enthusiastic young riders. Many of them were Bahia Vista Elementary students, ages five to 10. The class covered essential safety rules, responsible riding behavior, and the correct use of safety gear. The aim was to empower these young riders with the knowledge they need to safely navigate their neighborhood, contributing to a safer, healthier community.

But what’s a Bike Fest without a parade? As an event finale, MCBC and Safe Routes organized a family-friendly bike parade along the scenic Bay Trail, chaperoned by teens from the Cory’s Ride Bicycle Club who are models of safe riding behavior.

The organizers are already planning for next year’s event, which may feature a helmet giveaway. “The safety of our young riders is paramount, and we believe that this initiative will further contribute to their well-being and confidence as they explore their neighborhood on two wheels,” said Safe Routes to Schools Volunteer Coordinator Cooper Miley.

Loma Verde parent volunteer Kelly Smith tends to a welcome table in the Spring.

Bringing the Safe Routes to Schools program to life takes a village. A crew of over 115 parent volunteers (some of them PTA Presidents), community liaisons, teachers, principals, and office managers, joined the seven staff members from Safe Routes to Schools, to make it happen for the children of Marin.

Safe Routes to Schools wants to thank all the people involved in 52 schools. Because of all of them, Safe Routes to Schools managed to host 350 morning welcome tables to greet walkers and rollers and to teach over 10,000 students how to ride and walk safely. Many volunteers and school administrators also attended the Task Force Meetings, where they voiced their concerns about infrastructure surrounding the schools.

Simply put, Safe Routes to Schools would not exist without all of them. Here are the members of our 2022-23 village that brought life skills and joy to thousands of children this year.

A whopping 74% of Lynwood Elementary’s families walked and rolled to school for what turned into an umbrella party by the school entrance on May 3rd. The date marked the celebration of the National Bike to School Day, the second most important celebration of active transportation organized by Safe Routes to Schools every spring. It was also the wrap up of the three-month-long challenge, the Return of the J.E.D.I.

Ten parent volunteers, loud pop music, hundreds of incentives big and small, and ample coverage by the Marin Independent Journal were part of the big celebration. To read the full story published by the Marin Independent Journal, click HERE.

“This has been a great success today,” Interim Principal Rick Van Adelsberg told the Marin IJ. “Folks just stepped up in spite of the rain.” He noted that he saw the least number of cars at drop off since December, when he started working at Lynwood.

The effort was led by parent volunteer Janet Carter, who created a huge publicity buzz in her community. Carter considers that encouraging families who live far from the school to park and walk the rest of the way substantially increased the participation in the contest.

For the occasion, Safe Routes to Schools raffled off a bike donated by Cleary Bikes and a helmet donated by Mike’s Bikes. Carter also approached local businesses for prizes, securing 100 bike bells from Class Cycle and sixty $5 gift cards from Little Monkeys toy store. Both businesses are from Novato.

The noise the students made with the bike bells could be heard all over the Lynwood campus during the extent of the event. At the end of the event, Nathaly Ramos Pérez, a third grader, won the bicycle and helmet.

Other children were just happy to be there for the celebration. “We like walking to school. It’s easier than to get in the car. We like the small prizes we receive on Walk and Roll Days and the idea that somebody we know can win the big prize is exciting,” said 9-year-old Kairi Leyland, who is in fourth grade. She walks to school regularly with her little sister Astrid, 6, a kindergartener.

Marin Safe Routes to Schools is proud to announce the winners of the Bike Hero awards. There were 138 nominations and 24 schools represented in our BIKE HERO 2023 contest! Teachers, parents, neighbors, and fellow students sent in testimonials of students leading their peers, climbing big hills, and helping little brothers – all while obeying the rules of the road on bike. Two students were selected from elementary and two students from middle for the 2023 award. Congratulations to them and to all the students who were nominated!

Here is what friends and family had to say about our BIKE HEROES for 2023:

Ulysses Levitt, Laurel Dell, Kindergarten:
Ulysses deserves to win the Bike Hero award, because from the start of Kindergarten he consistently rode his bike to school. Beyond his consistency, partway through the year, on his way to school one day he fell off his bike and broke his arm. After getting a cast and rehabilitating it, he has gotten back on his bike and has been trying to conquer the spot that he fell off. He has been taking some steps to rebuild his confidence (like putting training wheels back on and walking his bike through the spot he fell off), but he continues to try! It is this dedication and determination in a 6 year old that I think is the definition of a Bike to School Hero.

Maggie Arenas, Hidden Valley Elementary, 4th grade:
Since kindergarten, Maggie has been riding her bike to and from school (two miles each way from Fairfax to Hidden Valley). She rides her bike rain or shine, 90 degrees or 28 degrees wearing double gloves and a puffy coat. We are so grateful that we are able to continue our jobs because she can ride her bike to school. She also encourages others in our neighborhood to ride too. Maggie cares for the environment and hopes to continue to navigate the busy roads (especially Butterfield) by riding her bike through fifth grade next year, and of course when she starts White Hill too. We are so proud of our Bike to School Hero from the moment she started riding as a 6 year old until this very moment as a 10 year old.

August Larsen, San Jose Intermediate, 8th grade:
August is a safe and friendly rider. He has ridden his bike to school daily for three years and now is looking forward to high school riding. He is safe and reads the traffic well. He rides with his brother and encourages him to get up the “big hill” on Sunset. I’ve seen him take care of others while on his bike, offering to help put a chain back on or help change a tire. He is always on his bike!

Aurora DeVilbiss, Kent Middle, 8th grade:
I am Aurora’s neighbor and I frequently see her biking to school much earlier than many students, showing me that she has an early program to get to. As an 8th grader, Aurora is one of the older riders and sets a very good example for the many younger riders taking the same route. She is always in a helmet and focused on her surroundings, which is essential for navigating two very busy intersections along her route, including Wolfe Grade. She also slows and stops when conditions require it, like on narrow and congested side streets.

Over 10,000 students from 59 elementary and middle schools benefited this year from 400 pedestrian bike safety classes taught by Marin Safe Routes to Schools. The purpose of these classes is to teach children how to navigate the streets safely while using an active mode of transportation.

This year, the program added ten new and returning schools to the education program.

The two main components of instruction are Pedestrian Safety for 2nd and 3rd Graders, and Bicycle Skills and Safety for 4th, 5th and 6th Graders.

During the pedestrian safety classes, students shoot their hands up to share what the benefits of walking and riding to school are. Most are well informed of how cars contribute to global warming, and they consistently mention that fewer cars on the road is better for the Earth. Mental and physical health and less traffic are other common answers they offer.

At first, the students are taught a theoretical class on how to cross the street safely. On a follow-up session, the second and third graders are taken out on a brief “field trip, ” where they can practice what was explained to them before. The outing is led by a teacher and at least one Safe Route to Schools staff member.

In the meantime, 4th-6th graders benefit from a “bike rodeo.” There, they learn how to ride a bike, keep their balance, decide what way to turn, scan their surroundings, remove a hand from the handle bar to signal, among many other skills.

For the bike rodeos, Safe Routes provides bikes and helmets to students who do not own one. Scooters are also available for those who prefer them or do not know how to ride a bike.

Classes are scheduled normally during the physical education time. The primary goal is for them to learn the rules of the road and ride safely. But more than anything else, Safe Routes want to help kids envision a world with fewer cars, and help them see the fun and joy that riding bikes can bring to their lives,” said Safe Routes Lead Instructor Tyler Randazzo.

If you want to schedule Safe Routes’ pedestrian and bike safety classes, contact Katy Vanoni, Safe Routes to Schools Education Coordinator, at [email protected]

Each year, the Transportation Authority of Marin honors one of its many crossing guards for outstanding service to their community.

This year’s honoree is Alice Yan who helps students safely cross the intersection of Throckmorton and Old Mill near the front of Old Mill School in Mill Valley. Starting in 2016, Alice has never missed a shift for the last six plus year. Alice came to the United State in 1991 and has been a Mill Valley resident since then.

Alice was honored at the TAM board meeting on May 25th. Both Supervisor Stephanie Moulton Peters and Mill Valley councilmember Urban Carmel had children who attended Old Mill School. Supervisor Moulton Peters presented the award, “Alice, on behalf of the TAM Board, our community, our teachers, staff and our school children I would like to express our deepest appreciation for your profound dedication to keeping our school kids safe!

“Thank you for your dedicated service to the Children of Marin. Your work as a Crossing Guard has made a difference to countless students and families in the community. We appreciate your commitment to safety, your caring manner and your welcoming smile!”

SR2S Newsletter Spring 2023

SR2S Newsletter Spring 2023

May 3 will be a big day for Safe Routes to Schools and its thousands of constituents all over Marin County. This day marks a celebration of biking, with the National Bike to School Day, and the final date for the J.E.D.I. Challenge. The contest has been carried out at 35 elementary schools during the Spring semester.

Safe Routes is expecting a great level of enthusiasm for this day. Participants in the National Bike to School Day will secure a final stamp for the raffle of a brand-new bike donated by Cleary Bikes and an adjustable helmet donated by Mike’s Bikes. Students’ J.E.D.I. cards will be collected on the spot by dozens of volunteers, who will perform the drawing for one bike and helmet per school site. The winners will be able to order a bicycle of their choice, and Mikes Bikes mechanics will then assemble the bikes and adjust them to each student at their facility in early June.

It is not only the bikers who will receive a prize or get their cards stamped on May 3. To make the event all inclusive, students who walk, scoot, park and walk, or ride the bus can come get a prize at the welcome table before school starts. Jambar is once again donating 3,000 bars, which will be given to middle and high school participants.

Mark your calendars – National Bike to School Day will be celebrated at over 50 K-12th grade schools on May 3.

Marin County Teens have great concern for the environment, particularly global warming.

This concern is translating into action: this Spring, 43 percent of middle schoolers opted for a active way to school (61% green trips). That means that they either walked, rode a bike, scooted, skateboarded, took the bus, or carpooled. That number is a stark contrast to the only 15 percent of students nationwide who walk or roll on their way to class, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lou Goodwin, Safe Routes’ Teen Program Coordinator, says that a very effective way to engage the students is through their teachers. In Kent, it is a math teacher, and in Miller Creek it is the science teacher. “I mostly work with schools that have educators who volunteer to recruit students interested in green transportation. They are already biking, walking to school and care about the environment.”

The Teen program tends to the particular needs of every school, so nothing is set in stone. An excellent example of how the program flows in some middle schools happened recently in Ross. Here a group of teens, recruited by the leadership teacher, is running the five events of the JEDI Challenge all on their own. This group feels compelled to teach the younger students about the benefits of green or active travel to school.

At both Kent and Miller Creek schools, over 300 children flooded their respective campuses this Spring to enjoy a morning fruit smoothie pedaled by students on a bike with a blender. These two events, organized by Safe Routes and student helpers, are a sample of the growing interest in fun activities that are good for the planet.

Safe Routes is currently serving nine Marin County public middle schools, where 6,387 students receive the benefits of the Teen Program through encouragement to choose active travel over the family car or receive pedestrian and biking safety classes.

After a year hiatus, Marin Health and Human Services (HHS) is partnering once more with Safe Routes to Schools in 2023 to cover some of the expenses of its bilingual program. A $10,000 grant was awarded to be used between January and September 2023.

The grant is already supporting activities at ten elementary and K-8 schools in Marin County where more than half of the students qualify for free and reduced-price lunches. The purpose of HHS is to help instill healthy and active habits among underserved communities, with active travel to school falling into the category of “active living.” In exchange, Safe Routes is aiding HHS in promoting its campaign Rethink your Drink, which highlights the importance of drinking water among children.

The schools covered by the grant are BaySide MLK Academy, Bahia Vista, Laurel Dell, Coleman, Venetia Valley, West Marin-Inverness, Lynwood, Lu Sutton, and Hamilton.

With the money awarded, Safe Routes is paying for tabling incentives, printed publicity, monthly prizes, and grand prizes that will be raffled off at the end of the current contest, the JEDI Challenge. The funds will also provide a comfortable start for the Fall 2023 semester, when Safe Routes will launch a set of completely new activities to promote active travel to school.

Safe Routes to Schools sends a big thank you to HHS for its generosity.

The Spring semester marked the reintroduction of two schools from West Marin to the Safe Routes program: West Marin-Inverness, a K-8, and Bolinas-Stinson Elementary.

West Marin-Inverness School, located in Point Reyes Station and Inverness, was initially contacted by Safe Routes’ Bilingual Coordinator Monica Leifer to join the encouragement program. Their family advocate, Glenda Mejia, and their Principal, Beth Nolan, jumped quickly at the opportunity to do all five events of “The Return of the JEDI Challenge.” With two campuses to handle, Glenda had to manage her logistics by recruiting parent volunteers, a custodian and even the office secretary from the West Marin campus to host the events. Glenda also stamped the JEDI cards of many excited students who came to the first Safe Routes to Schools’ welcome table in about eight years.

“The contest was announced to the students the Monday before the event during a school assembly. They were very impatient, constantly asking me when they were going to get their JEDI cards. I think it’s something new and exciting to do after all the turmoil caused by the pandemic,” said Glenda. “When Wednesday came, the participants waited in line to receive their cards and incentives.”

At Bolinas Elementary School, the schools’ return came as per Principal Michelle Stephens’ initiative. She showed interest during a task force meeting and immediately contacted Safe Routes’ volunteer coordinator, Cooper Miley, to see how they could join. They hosted their first event on March 22.

Both West Marin-Inverness and Bolinas-Stinson schools are now part of the encouragement program, participate in the SR2S Task Force Meetings, and are receiving their bike and pedestrian safety classes.

Safe Routes’ small but mighty team of seven has been hard at work, teaching 270 pedestrian and bike safety classes to 8,000 students so far this year. The requests for more classes keep coming in, and five new schools (Novato High School, San Marin High School, Venetia Valley School, Hamilton School, and Davidson Middle School) have been added to the list of 40+ schools receiving education classes.

The safety classes, offered for free to schools, are normally taught during the regular day schedule. Very often, it is during PE class when the students congregate to either hear about the rules of the road, learn safety tips, go for a walk around the block, or have a bike rodeo. For the bike classes, Safe Routes provides the necessary bikes and helmets for students who do not have their own.

During this school year, Safe Routes’ instructors incorporated new classes into the existing curriculum. Classes are age appropriate and experiential, focusing on pedestrian, bike, and traffic safety for students in 2nd-6th and 9th grades. All classes meet California state curriculum standards.

A new class, “Share the Road,” has been taught to all 9th grade students at San Marin and Novato High Schools. During the class, students learned the rules of the road and how to prevent crashes from a walking, driving, and biking perspective. Other topics covered included being aware of car doors, cycling hand signals, and the dangers of teen driving. At the end of the presentation, students could also sign up for other Safe Routes activities such as a bike ride to practice the skills learned during the class.

Additionally, Safe Routes implemented a “Learn to Ride” class this Spring, which is offered to elementary school students at school bike rodeos. Though learning to ride a bike is often taught informally during bike rodeos, Safe Routes felt it was important to formalize this class into its curriculum to increase access and equity for children who may not have a bike at home. In the class, students are taught how to balance, pedal, and steer a bike. With the help of our instructors, children are often riding by the end of the session.

“Learn to Ride” is available upon request and is currently in place at schools with larger populations of historically underserved students.

Safe Routes to Schools’ Bike Hero Award is open for nominations now until May 31. This is the fifth year in a row that the contest is offered at all elementary and middle schools in Marin County.

The growth in the contest’s popularity shows easily: from 2021 to 2022, the nominations grew by 234 percent. Put in raw numbers, 64 applications from 11 schools were received in 2021, while last year the number increased to 150 nominations from 19 schools.

“We are eager to promote the Bike Hero contest as an opportunity to advance more riding and good citizenship,” said Gwen Froh, Safe Routes to Schools Program Director.

Anyone can nominate a student for the Bike Hero Award. That means that a teacher, parent, school administrator, grandparent, or caregiver can write a short description about why a child who rides to school very often, while respecting the rules of the road, is a good “ROLL” model to their peers. There will be four winners who each will receive recognition and a $50 gift certificate from the store of their choice.

The 2022 winners shone by their grit, determination, and resiliency to overcome barriers such as inclement weather and long distances to school. Their joy of cycling was palpable. Their kindness to assist others, unmeasurable. All the nominees were superheroes for treating themselves, others, and the planet with respect, kindness and a love for life that is felt by riding a bike.

The 2022 winners are:

Zainy Vargas – TK, Venetia Valley Elementary
Zainy (age 5) bikes to and from school almost every day – she wears her helmet and a smile and always adheres to the rules of the road! She and her brother are shining examples.

Patrick Wagner – Grade 3, Bacich Elementary
Patrick Wagner bikes each day to school and committed to biking with his buds and to being the best younger brother. Patrick is kind to pedestrians, bikes safely, and follows the rules.

Callie Egan – Grade 5, A.E. Kent Middle School
Callie bikes to and from school every day. She often goes with a group of friends.

Nino DeFrenza, grade – 7, Miller Creek Middle
While most 13-year-olds are asleep in bed, Adriano wakes up early to bike to school. He lives a good 10 minutes away from his school by car, across the freeway and along a main road. At his young age, he’s learned to obey the rules of the road, have valuable quick-thinking skills, and build confidence when riding alone.

With forty-six percent of the Ross School students walking or biking to school, Safe Routes to Schools decided to give this school its first route map. For that reason, 15 students from 6th to 8th grade who belong to the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging (DEIB) Club, were recruited to be part of the process.

With large scale maps provided by the Transportation Authority of Marin, the students in the club gave up their lunchtime to discuss with Safe Routes staff their walking and biking routes to school. They pointed out challenging intersections, streets lacking sidewalks, and even hidden hillside trails to use.

The information the teens provide, along with some parent input, will go to the transportation engineers who can discuss whether or not infrastructure changes can be made to increase safety. Sometimes these changes are something small like signage. Other times, they may require a longer process, such as the need for a new sidewalk. At the end of this process Safe Routes will have a working Suggested Routes Map that can be used by Ross students in the years to come.

See if your school has a Suggested Routes Map HERE.

During the volunteer luncheon in January, Carrie Wurlitzer, a parent volunteer from Vallecito Elementary, told the other attendants that, for a while now, she has been getting her school to give away “Golden Eagle Tickets” as a prize for the students that walk and roll to school. This means that the school is contributing incentives that are normally distributed at the Safe Routes welcome table.

The eagle is Vallecito’s mascot, hence the name of the ticket. Carrie explains how it works: “Eagle tickets are filled out by the students, turned into the office and once per month, at an assembly, the principal draws names. Winners get an extra Friday recess with the principal and get to choose a friend to come along. As you can imagine, Eagle tickets are coveted!”

That motivated Carrie to turn Eagle Tickets into a Walk and Roll prize. “By using an already existing process, it is less work on the volunteers and is already a known process for the students. WIN WIN!!”

Venetia Valley parent volunteer Heather Crossen, who was present at the luncheon, thought this would be a great idea for her school as well. They have “Falcon Cards,” which also make reference to the school’s mascot. Here, students from K-8 can use their ticket to purchase a snack from the school store, which are about $1 each. The school donated 290 “Falcon Cards” for the March 15 event and publicized the prize in their weekly breakdown.

“Using the Falcon Cards is quick and easy. When the announcement came out, I think it motivated more kids to participate. It looks to me like it increased participation that morning,” said Heather.

Contributions like these help increase the level of excitement among students and frees some of the non-profit resources to invest in different programs.

Free bike repairs, a bike rodeo to learn rules of the road, and a bike blender to make smoothies are just some of the activities that will be included in the second annual Bridge the Bay event, sponsored by Safe Routes to Schools. The event, a celebration of the joy of biking, will be held at Pickleweed Park in the Canal area of San Rafael on May 20 from 12 – 4 p.m.

Experienced mechanics from the Bay Area Bike Mobile and 10 interns from San Rafael will be on hand to fix bicycles. Last year, over 60 bikes were repaired, giving them a new life and creating more opportunities for children to spend time outdoors.

This free and open-to-the-public event will culminate with a parade along the Bay Trail to the Richmond-San Rafael bridge and back. Parents/caregivers and children of all ages are welcomed to join.

High school students wishing to spend an afternoon outdoors in service to their community are invited to contact Cooper Miley at [email protected] for more information.

SR2S Newsletter Winter 2023

SR2S Newsletter Winter 2023

Safe Routes will announce the deployment of its encouragement program for the second half of the school year during a volunteer luncheon on January 19 at the Transportation Authority of Marin in San Rafael. Dedicated school and parent volunteers will host welcome tables to greet walkers and rollers, run contests, and provide other actions such as all school assemblies to encourage families to choose a green way to school.  New and exciting this year, elementary students will have a chance to win a Cleary Bike for participating in the J.E.D.I Challenge.

Safe Routes to Schools has set the suggested dates for the elementary schools’ encouragement events. Depending on individual school schedules, the dates may vary. Middle and high school events are customized per school site.

Calendar of Upcoming School Events – Spring 2023

Walk and Roll Wednesday (elementary schools) – February 1st

J.E.D.I. Challenge to win a Cleary Bike
(elementary schools):
March 1 & 15, April 5 & 19, May 3

Bike to School Day (all K-12th grades):  May 3rd

Bike Hero Award Nominations
(middle and elementary students):
Month of May

Build Habits

In order to make 2023 your Green Commute Year, build habits now so your kids can join all the fun this spring. Walk, Bike, Bus, Carpool, Park and Walk to participate and make 2023 A GREEN COMMUTE YEAR for you and your community.

Walking and rolling to school, especially in brisk and rainy weather, helps to wake up sleepy-heads and allows kids to get their ya-yas out for a day of better learning. Walking and biking to school allows children to interact with their peers and build relationships, which can have a positive impact on their social development. This can also help children to feel more connected to their school and community, which can improve their overall well-being.

Pro Tips To Get Started

Start small and develop a consistent routine. Pick one day per week and set alarms 15 minutes early to begin. Routine builds healthy habits, but most importantly, you will develop memories to cherish for a lifetime. There’s nothing like the simple joy of splashing in puddles or finding treasures enroute to bring smiles to faces. If the full commute from home is inconvenient or the traffic is hectic, drive partway, then park and walk from a neighborhood with quiet streets and few intersections.

Inviting others to carpool or park and walk solidifies friendships and may even give parents a much needed break from their hectic, daily commutes as they take turns bringing kids to school. Not surprisingly, parents say that kids get out of bed faster when they can look forward to traveling to school with friends.

A Bay Area native, Katy Vanoni is the new Education Coordinator for Safe Routes to Schools. She is from now on, the contact person for all schools interested in scheduling pedestrian and bike safety classes for students throughout Marin. Katy replaces Peggy Clark, who was with Safe Routes for the last 15 years.

Before starting with her new job last September, Katy was an elementary school teacher in Marin County and the East Bay. Katy believes that by learning cycling early, children will have the skills and enthusiasm to ride for the rest of their lives.

Katy will be scheduling Safe Routes’ indoor and outdoor safety education courses provided to 10,000 students from 2nd to 12th grade at 50 Marin schools annually. Her focus will be on fostering connections with teachers to bring the Safe Routes team, bikes, and courses for students to hone their pedestrian and biking skills, while following the rules of the road.

Leading up to teaching in the Bay Area, Katy worked in various roles, including as an Art and Sports volunteer teacher to children in Belize. She loves cycling challenges such as sprint triathlons and the Three Bears ride. She obtained her League Certified Instructor certificate in 2011. She lives in San Rafael with her husband and son.

To schedule classes at schools, contact [email protected].

Safe Routes will miss Peggy Clark, who has been with Safe Routes since its early days. We wish her the best in her new endeavor.


Fourteen elementary school students were the happy winners of the new Buddy Up contest conducted by Safe Routes to Schools this fall.

The multitude of entries told the inspiring stories of many buddies, boys and girls from different backgrounds and from all over Marin, who decided to take on the challenge to find friends to walk, bike, bus or carpool to school together. Here are the winners and their heartwarming stories.

Westin & Jase from Olive Elementary School

Westin and Jase have always loved looking for treasures. They enjoy collecting rocks, sticks, and different leaves, among other things like coins, nails, and “dinosaur bones” on their walks. The items that do not end up going through the washing machine have made it into a collection box that they constantly look through and update. Each day they are excited to walk to and from school together when they continue to build their collection.

Erin & Emerson from Reed Elementary School

After a hard first bus ride for Erin on her second day of Kindergarten, her classmate and new friend Emerson offered to ride with her. The next week, they held hands as they boarded the bus (and for the whole way to school), and they haven’t looked back since. They  became fast friends and now love riding the bus together. During the ride, they share letters and drawings they make for each other at home. Recently, they have been asking someone new to sit with them each day. We are so grateful for the bus and for their friendship.

Scottie & Gianna from San Jose Middle School

Scottie and Gianna love to bike to San Jose Middle School together. Recently, Scottie broke her arm, but that did not stop the pair from “getting their steps in” and walking together to and from school. They are each responsible for setting their own alarms, arriving at their meeting spot on time, and messaging their parents once they are off to school. They practice the same routine on their way home.

Aurora, Delaney, Eoldie, Hannah, Kate, Lila, Mackenzie, and Talia from Bacich Elementary School

This group of third graders has been biking to and from school and affectionately been nicknamed “The Peloton” by neighbors who witness their numbers swell as they pick up more and more friends along the way. They are always looking out for each other, on the road and at school. They love being in a large group because it makes it easy to maintain the habit of riding every day, even when one or two people can not make it. There’s always someone (and more often lots of people) to ride with!

In the spirit of friendship, let’s continue to team up to travel together in the upcoming year, fostering healthy habits, community spirit, and fond memories while reducing chaotic traffic and unhealthy pollution. As our fall Buddy Up contest winners demonstrate, it’s well worth the effort.

Twenty fourth graders from Tam Valley Elementary School and their teacher, Ms. Sanchez, were the proud winners of the Pump It Up! contest sponsored and organized by Safe Routes to Schools. The children were awarded a popsicle party and Ms. Sanchez received an Ortleib backpack.  The class was declared the winner after a bike rodeo conducted in October.

The new Pump It Up! Challenge encourages students to put their skills learned during the bike rodeos to use. For a week following the rodeos, teachers ask students how they get to school each day.  The tallies get reported to Safe Routes to Schools and the class with the most walkers and rollers wins a popsicle party and bragging rights.

Check out the Safe Routes classes and see why students are excited when our trailer and Instructors roll onto campus. 

Pictured here is Mr. Sanchez’s class from Tam Valley Elementary – proud winners!

Looming wet weather and cold temperatures did not stop Martin Luther King students in Sausalito from walking and rolling to school on December 1 to celebrate the Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day.

Ruby Bridges, an African American girl, walked into an all-white school in New Orleans every day amid angry protesters screaming at her and her mother along the way. Ruby’s perseverance was pivotal in the desegregation of classrooms.

In addition to the morning Walk and Roll, six middle school leaders came from the Philip Street campus to the Nevada campus to talk to their elementary school peers about Ruby’s historical contributions. “In tandem with the mission of Safe Routes, we celebrated our students who ride bikes or walk to school and encourage those who don’t to give it a try in the future,” said MLK School’s Community School Director Phillip Logan.

To help celebrate  Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day, Safe Routes held a raffle of ten basketballs among the elementary school students who used their feet to go to school.

The event was co-sponsored by community partners of the Sausalito School District.

Bike Buses are growing in popularity and size. Read about the hundreds of kids who bike together in Barcelona, Spain

And the growing bike bus in Portland

Law offices are looking to promote safety as the Stein Law Offices offers great tips for students walking and biking to school

  • Ross Valley – Friday, Jan 13, 2023 at 10:00 AM
  • Novato – Thursday, Jan 18, 2023 at 5:00 PM
  • Kentfield – Thursday Jan 19, 2023 at 9:00 AM
  • Reed – Thursday, Jan 25, 2023 at 10 AM
  • West Marin – Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023 at 7 pm
  • San Rafael – Thursday, Feb 2, 2023 at 5:00 PM
  • Sausalito-Marin City – Tuesday Feb 7, 2023 at 5:00 PM
  • Larkspur-Corte Madera – Thursday, Feb 9, 2023 at 3:30 PM
  • Ross – Monday, Feb 13, 2023 at 10 AM
  • Mill Valley – Thursday Feb 16, 2023 at 9:30 AM

Contact Wendi Kallins if you are interested in joining a task force or if you would like a copy of archived task force meeting notes.

Marin Safe Routes kicked off the fall with two new walk audits after having to suspend them during the pandemic. The engineering team worked with residents of Sun Valley Elementary and Strawberry Point to assess the walking and biking conditions for both schools. Elli Abdoli, Mill Valley School District Trustee, and Geoff Rubendall, Sun Valley co-team leader,  did an excellent job of inviting parents, neighbors, and the school principals to participate and of mapping out the route for our walk.

For each school, the audit started during early drop off time to observe some of the conflicts that occur between students and cars.

Sun Valley’s route runs along 5th Avenue in San Rafael, which does not have enough room for bike lanes and has conflicts at each intersection. Many parents park at Andy’s Market on California Street and walk from there,  but there is limited parking and no sidewalks on California Street.

Strawberry is a hilly neighborhood, with no or limited controls at intersections whose steepness makes visibility challenging. It is an older neighborhood that predates the school that has many streets with incomplete or missing sidewalks. Another issue is that  students cross Strawberry Drive as cars are rapidly turning from Tiburon Boulevard.

The good news is that the group observed a number of walking school buses for both schools. Supervised walking groups help to create more visibility and keep the kids safer.

The Safe Routes engineering team works with the local jurisdiction to come up with suggested solutions to these issues. In these cases, it is the County of Marin in Strawberry and the City of San Rafael for Sun Valley. The Safe Routes team will go back for further studies, to make suggestions to the jurisdictions, and, once approved, to bring back concept plans to the task forces. Most of the past recommendations have resulted in completed projects and safer routes to schools for Marin students.

The City of Larkspur constructed several Safe Pathways and Complete Streets projects in 2022 to make it easier and safer for students to walk and roll to school.

Doherty Drive, Magnolia Boulevard, and Bon Air Road in Larkspur received multimodal infrastructure upgrades in 2022, including pedestrian enhancements, bike lane improvements, and traffic calming.

Buffered bike lanes were installed throughout Doherty Drive, a separated bikeway was completed in front of the Redwood High School, and other improvements were made to the Doherty Drive corridor using TAM’s Measure A and AA Safe Pathways to Schools funding. This helps connect several schools, parks, and residences along Doherty Drive to existing multi-use paths and closes crucial gaps in the bike network.

New bike lanes were also added on Magnolia Boulevard and several uncontrolled pedestrian crossings were enhanced with traffic calming features near Marin Primary & Middle School. Bon Air Road saw the completion of the new multimodal bridge and intersection improvements. These improvements will give more students across the city an opportunity to safely walk and bike to school.

Holiday gifts came early to 42 elementary school students in Novato. On November 9, Safe Routes to Schools along with School Board Trustee Diane Gasson and Eric Lucan of Mike’s Bikes coordinated the delivery of adjustable helmets to children who could not afford them. The student recipients were from Lynwood, Lu Sutton, and Loma Verde Elementary Schools.

“This [gift] is of great help to parents who don’t have enough money to buy helmets. For me, as a mother of a student, it is a great relief to think that my kids don’t have to ride their bikes without a helmet,” said Kelly Lopez, who has two children at Lu Sutton.

Staff members from Lu Sutton  were seeing children riding their bikes and scooters daily without the needed head protection. The office expressed concern to Safe Routes, which relayed the issue to Trustee Diane Gasson. Gasson started a GoFundMe campaign among members of the Novato community to help not only Lu Sutton students, but also those from Lynwood and Loma Verde.

Gasson also asked Lucan, who is both the mayor of Novato and chief marketing officer for Mike’s Bikes, if Mike’s Bikes  could pitch in.

“I coordinated with Eric Lucan and he was able to give me a [low] price for the helmets, with the adjusting dial in the back, in the bright colors that we requested. Between the two of us we could get 42 helmets for the kids,” said Gasson.

The story, covered by the Marin Independent Journal, can be found at

The end of November marked the end of another successful Street Smarts rollout. For six weeks, Marin County drivers, walkers, and cyclists were reminded to keep their ‘Eyes Up’ to improve safety for everyone.

The rollout saw the unveiling of bright new banners and signs as part of the campaign’s data-driven refresh. Marin County residents and visitors could spot the messaging on light poles, buildings, buses, and on lawns throughout the county.

Online, people shared safety-related images and used colorful email signatures to show their support and encourage safe behavior. Keep your eyes up for future rollouts in 2023.

Safe Routes to Schools has implemented two new education programs this year promoting transportation mode shifts and increasing safety for Marin County students.

9th Grade Share the Road: San Marin High School, Novato

In early November, Safe Routes Returned to San Marin High School in Novoto to educate 150 ninth grade students. The primary goal of the Share the Road class  is to identify main causes of injury or fatal crashes on roadways and how students can avoid them as pedestrians, cyclists and emerging drivers.

Students remarked what they learned through the class:

  • “Many collisions/ crashes are preventable. Sharing the road and knowing your roles and rules are very important to stay safe.”
  • “[Appropriate] speed is extremely important, do not ever look at your phone when driving, walking, or biking.”

Students were also invited to join Safe Routes’ instructors to practice traffic safety skills on their bikes, and to participate in a contest by submitting a video about how to increase traffic safety among their peers.

This spring, Safe Routes will bring this class to other Marin high schools with the goal of increasing safety education for older students.


E-Bike Education: White Hill Middle School, Fairfax

Electric Bicycles have become popular with many of our middle and high school students. While Safe Routes to Schools celebrates healthier and greener shifts away from car trips, community members have expressed concern about the safety of young, emerging e-bike cyclists. In addition to the “hands on” instruction already provided to all Marin middle school 6th graders, White Hill Middle School requested Safe Routes teach a dedicated class for students who commute via e-bike. In November, 30 sixth to eighth grade students were taught the legal requirements to ride an e-bike, the rules of the road, and the skills necessary to maneuver a heavy and more challenging device. Students and their parents signed a pledge that they would ride safely, obeying traffic laws. Safe Routes Instructors, along with Marin County Bicycle Coalition’s E-Bike Smart Marin program, will develop additional classes in 2023.