Sonoma County Safe Routes to School Program

Teaching kids hand signals at the Roseland School District Community Bicycle Rodeo - May 2013.
Getting ready to roll at the Miwok Elementary School 4th grade bicycle rodeo.
Aerial view of "Safetyville" course at Miwok Elementary School 4th grade bicycle rodeo.
Miwok Elementary students riding on the "Super Slalom" course where they practice controlling their bicycle, yielding, and using peripheral vision.
Miowk Elementary students getting ready to practice balancing, stopping and starting on the Turtle Race course.
Students at Proctor Terrace Elementary Bicycle Rodeo
Students at Proctor Terrace Elementary Bicycle Rodeo
Student enjoying himself at Proctor Terrace Elementary Bicycle Rodeo
Student giving the "thumbs up" at Proctor Terrace Elementary Bicycle Rodeo

2nd Annual I Love Walk & Roll to School Poetry/Essay Contest!

For Sonoma County Students in Grades 4, 5 & 6




Describe in a 250-350 word essay why you love walking and/or rolling to school.


Capture, in a poem, the spirit of why you love walking and/or rolling to school.


  • Essay/poem may be typed or written in ink (no pencil please).
  • Your essay or poem must have a title
  • Label entry with first and last name, grade, teacher, and school name
  • One submission per person


Essays will be judged for ability to express enthusiasm for walk & roll, and also on creativity and originality.


  • 2 Grand Prize Winners will receive a brand new bicycle from the Trek Bicycle Store and a helmet (one winning essay, one winning poem)
  • 4  Runners Up will receive $20.00 Copperfield’s Bookstore Gift Cards
  • 20 Honorable Mentions will receive $5.00 Jamba Juice Gift Cards
  • All of the above invited to award ceremony at Trek Bicycle Store (date TBD)


Mail entries to:  Attention SRTS Essay/Poetry Contest, Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, PO Box 3088, Santa Rosa, CA 95402-3088

Email entries to:

Essays/poems must be submitted by Friday 2/28/14


Winners Announced in March, Winners & Runners Up will be published on website, Grand Prize winners will be published in the Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Study Reveals more K-8 Children Are Walking & Bicycling to School

School support of active transportation a critical component

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (Dec. 2, 2013) – New research from the National Center for Safe Routes to School – based on parent survey data collected by nearly 4,700 U.S. schools from 2007 to 2012 – shows that more K-8 students are walking to and from school across the country.

According to the data, the percentage of K-8 children who walked to school in the morning increased from 12.4 percent to 15.7 percent (representing a 27 percent increase). Similarly, the percentage of K-8 children who walked from school in the afternoon increased from 15.8 percent to 19.7 percent (representing a 24 percent increase).

“We have heard anecdotally that more families are choosing active transportation for everyday trips, and this first-ever large dataset provides evidence that this is indeed the case for the trip to and from school,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School. “This encouraging news illustrates the importance of continuing to invest in building safer infrastructure, promoting safety awareness and continuing programs like Safe Routes to School.”

Full Article can be found on the National Center for Safe Routes to School website.

Sonoma County Bicycle Shops, Police Departments support Safe Routes to School Bicycle Education at Local Schools in 2013

Mark West Elementary School 4th grader’s couldn’t contain their excitement when asked about their experience participating in their October 18th Bicycle Rodeo:

 “I was so excited because it was my first time riding a bike at school and learning the rules of the road.” ~Audrianna

I learned safety rules I didn’t know before like riding in the same direction as traffic.  The courses were awesome. The instructors were very nice. It was a great experience” ~Evan

I liked how the volunteers fitted our helmets. A mechanic also fixed a tire that popped!” ~Michael

Now it feels like I can ride safely.” ~Selena

Over 1500 4th graders at 18 Sonoma County Schools and an additional 250+ participants at 4 community events received on bicycle education and maintenance in 2013, thanks to the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition’s Safe Routes to School program, mechanics from local bicycle shops, and officers from local law enforcement agencies.  A minimum of 11 additional sites and at 700-1000 4th grade students will receive on-bicycle education services in April, May, or June 2014.  Additionally, 6th grade students at Brookhaven and Windsor Middle School will receive on-bicycle education this Spring.  The SCBC/SRTS bicycle education program is led by SCBC Education Manager and League of American Bicyclist Certified Instructor Michelle Nikolayew, and staffed by enthusiastic & experienced bicycle education contractors.

“Our 4th Grade on-Bicycle Education program (aka “bike rodeo”) is one of the most popular and effective components of our SRTS program,” says Tina Panza, Director of Safe Routes to School for the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition. “Teachers, students and parents universally love it and tout its value.  It is a unique opportunity for students to get “hands on” bicycle safety & skill instruction in a safe environment, and have fun in the process.  Students have their helmets fitted – many receive new helmets  – and their bicycles are inspected for safety, with minor repairs and adjustments made as needed.  After a session or two of in class instruction and the bicycle rodeo, kids are equipped with the basic tools they need to begin their journey of safe bicycling.” 

Tina also emphasized that the SCBC/SRTS Bicycle Education program would not be a success without the support and involvement of numerous mechanics from local bicycle shops, who arrive early in the morning to inspect and repair anywhere from 30-80 bicycles before the first class is ready to roll.  Although the bicycle shops receive a nominal fee to reimburse for materials, travel and equipment, their services are primarily donated.   The Bike mechanics often go beyond the call of duty in making bikes ride-able and safe for the kids.  If bicycles are deemed unsafe, children receive a checklist indicating what needs to be repaired to make their bicycle safe, and the student borrows a SRTS loaner bike for the rodeo course.

 “There are so many details to take care of every day on the rodeos, having such great communication, punctuality and professionalism from the bicycle shops helps the day run smoothly.  They sometimes come to communities outside their shop’s radius, knowing that they aren’t even vying for potential customers. The bikes are often in need of lots of help, and what they do is truly for the sake of the kids and the love of bikes,” said Michelle Nikolayew. 

Dana Martin, Community Engagement Director at Mikes Bike’s said “We are always excited to support cycling related programs in Bay area communities. The Safe Routes to School Bicycle Education/Rodeo program provides us with an excellent opportunity to promote safety by inspecting and repairing bikes and educating kids. We are thrilled to hear stories about schools that have increased bike ridership and/or safety as a result of their bike rodeos. We congratulate SCBC/SRTS for leading these efforts and we are honored to be involved.” 

"I loved pitching in at the SRTS Rodeos to service the kids' bikes.  With some elbow grease and TLC, the bikes are safe to ride to school, and the kids are really stepping up to it!" Nick Sanders, West County Cycle Service

Representatives from local law enforcement agencies are present at the vast majority of bicycle rodeos as well (barring unforeseen emergencies).  Police officers visit classrooms and conduct bicycle/pedestrian safety talks before kids go out on the course, often fielding numerous questions from the students.  Many stick around and help monitor the on-bicycle course as well, often giving out positive “good behavior” tickets along the way to kids who demonstrate safe riding skills.  

“Our kids love this event.  It's a great opportunity for them to learn hands-on bike safety.   We are very appreciative of the partnerships that support this event. The instructors are fantastic and the bike shops do a great job of taking care of minor repairs. Our 3rd graders are already looking forward to their 4th grade Bike Rodeo.” Jenny Young, Principal Sheppard Elementary School, Santa Rosa.    

“Having an event such as the Safe Routes to School Bike Rodeo is such a reminder that when we organize events for students, they respond! The Miwok Bike Rodeo on Monday October 21 was a fantastic exhibition of four groups coming together for an exciting project. Miwok parents, staff and students joined with Michelle Nikolayew and her Bike “Cowboys and Cowgirls” and organized a Rodeo that included safety, challenge, free equipment and of course “Authentic  Licensing” for all student participants. I cannot think of a more successful community event to hold at our school. The Safe Routes to School Bike Rodeo was indeed a tremendous school and community event success!” Jorge Arvizu, Principal, Miwok Elementary School

The following 4th grade or community bicycle rodeos have taken place in the past 12 months*: 

School Bike Shop Police Department Date
Evergreen Elem – Rohnert Park Hub Cyclery Rohnert Park Dept of Public Service (RPDPS) 11/1/13
Helen Lehman Elem – Santa Rosa Mikes Bikes SRPD 10/30/13
RL Stevens Elem – Santa Rosa Performance SRPD 10/28/13
Sheppard Elem – Santa Rosa Mikes Bikes SRPD 10/24/13
Roseland Elem – Santa Rosa Performance SRPD 10/22/13
Miwok Elem – Petaluma Mikes Bikes Petaluma PD 10/21/13
Mark West Elem – Santa Rosa Windsor Bicycle Center CHP 10/18/13
Monte Vista Elem – Rohnert Park Hub Cyclery RPDPS 10/16 & 10/17/13
Proctor Terrace Elem – Santa Rosa NorCal Bike Sport/The Bike Peddler CHP 10/15/13
Windsor Community Bicycle Rodeo – Town Green Windsor Bicycle Center Windsor Police Dept 10/13/13
Sonoma County Bicycle Expo – Community Bicycle Rodeo Windsor Bicycle Center SRPD 8/18/13
Rohnert Park Community Bicycle Rodeo Hub Cyclery RPDPS 6/8/13
Jefferson Elem – Cloverdale Spoke Folk Cyclery CPD & CHP 6/6 & 6/7/13
JX Wilson Elem – Santa Rosa Trek Bicycle Store SRPD 6/4/13
Guerneville Elem - Guerneville West County Cycle Service CHP 5/24/13    


RL Stevens – Santa Rosa Trek Bicycle Store SRPD 5/23/13
Strawberry Elem – Santa Rosa Trek Bicycle Store SRPD 5/21 & 5/22/13
Roseland School District Community Bicycle Rodeo & Swap Community Bikes, Birdhouse Cycles Sonoma County Sheriff 5/18/13
Healdsburg Elem – Fitch Mountain Spoke Folk Healdsburg PD 5/15 & 5/16/13
Meadow Elem – Petaluma Mikes Bikes Petaluma PD 5/14/13
Corona Creek Elem - Petaluma Mikes Bikes Petaluma PD 5/13/13
Mark West Elem – Santa Rosa Trek Bicycle Store CHP 5/7/13
Miwok Elem – Petaluma Mikes Bikes Petaluma PD 5/6/13
Sebastopol School District Bike Rodeo Community Bikes Sebastopol PD 4/27/13
Sonoma Charter – Sonoma Mikes Bikes Sonoma Valley Sheriff 4/19/13

* some sites received two rodeos in 12 months due to switching from a Spring 4th grade event to a Fall 4th grade event. 

Over 11,000 participate in Sonoma County International Walk & Roll to School Day!

70 schools and over 11,000 students participated in International Walk & Roll to School Day on October 9th, 2013.  Thousands more participated around the world. 

Many schools organized walking school buses and bike trains to school to highlight and celebrate the benefits of choosing student-powered transportation to school.  At numerous schools across the county and nation, International Walk and Roll to School Day is the launch of an ongoing Safe Routes to School program that includes weekly or monthly walk & roll days and walk/bike safety education.  At Cali Calmécac in Windsor, a Walking School bus that sometimes reaches 100+ participants travels to school from the Town Green every Wednesday year round.  The Sonoma County SRTS education program includes an innovative Walk & Bicycle Safety assembly written and performed by the local Imaginist Theater troupe, bicycle skill/safety rodeos, and walk & bicycle safety classroom lessons. 

The SRTS program has had a tremendous impact at Proctor Terrace Elementary School in Santa Rosa, where Proctor Terrace parent and SRTS School team member Connie Sultana says “Traffic around the school and neighborhood is much calmer on ‘Walk and Roll to School Wednesdays’ and the school crossing guard, Pat, really earns her money that day. On an average day 20% of our students walk and bike to school. On Walk and Roll Wednesdays the number jumps to about 60%. Everyone is outside with smiles on their faces and you can feel the energy of the group. Not only is the exercise good for the health of our students and community members, but it really adds to our school spirit. Two years ago, I was the only one with a tandem bike. Now I have noticed about 8 more, which shows people are getting more creative with their biking too.”

The Sonoma County SRTS program is making a difference.  At schools implementing ongoing programs, preliminary data indicates an average increase of students walking and bicycling to school of 6%, with some of the county’s champion schools displaying a tremendous increase in students walking and bicycling to school.

Here are some pictures shared by a few of our participating schools!


Register for International Walk and Roll to School Day

International Walk and Roll to School Day is Wednesday, October 9th 2013

Click HERE to register for Sonoma County's Event (no later than Friday 9/13/13)

Click HERE to report your event participation numbers (no later than Friday 10/11/13)



  1. Walk and Roll to School Day Guidebook:

    The guidebook provides a suggested timeline, tips, and suggestions for organizing your event. Your event can be as simple as sending home a flyer, making announcements, and setting up a welcome table in front of the school – or you can take it even farther and involve kids in promoting the event, other parents, and the community. Note: If you are interested in any of the other guidebooks/templates referred to in the Walk/Roll guidebook, please email to request a copy. Spanish versions of all our guidebooks are also available by request.

  2. 2013 Flyers: English (.doc) Spanish (.doc)

    Feel free to modify/customize the 2013 flyer for your specific school needs. Additional flyer templates are available if you would like your flyer to include more information, such as “reasons to walk/bike,” suggested meeting points, etc. To request additional templates or receive a PDF version of this flyer, please email

  3. IWalk/Roll Day 2013 Color Poster (11x17 PDF), (8 1/2 x 11 PDF, English), (8 1/2 x 11 PDF, Spanish)

    Each site that registered by Friday, September 6th will receive a supply of printed posters in mid-September. However, whether or not your site registered, you may distribute the attached electronic version of the poster electronically, print more copies yourselves, etc. Note: If you are celebrating your event on a date OTHER than October 9th, email to request a version of the poster where you can fill in your own date.

Donation Letter Template (.doc)

May be used to request donations from local businesses for healthy snacks, beverages, or even additional raffle prizes.

Schools that registered before Friday, September 13th will be receiving a supply of pencils & stickers in addition to the posters. Prizes will be delivered by Wednesday, September 25th. If you registered and do not receive your prizes by 9/25, please contact us.



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