York Region recognizes the importance of increasing bicycle safety knowledge and cycling opportunities to elementary school and high school students across the Region. The programs and resources below aim to support schools, stakeholders and the public.
Making Tracks: Active Transportation Skills Training
York Region’s Making Tracks program is an active transportation education program geared towards elementary students in teaching safety and skills fundamentals in walking, cycling and scootering through a fun and informative way. The Making Tracks program is based on a train-the-trainer model involving teacher instruction to deliver the programming to their students through curriculum-based units designed with experiential learning and physical activity.
Making Tracks teaches:
- Proper equipment selection and operation
- Safety considerations and precautions to reduce risk
- Hands-on active transportation skills to travel successfully and safely
- Route awareness and planning to improve navigation and safety
For more information please contact @email or 1-877-464-9675 ext. 75000 if you are interested in bringing Making Tracks to your school or group.
Teaching Resources, view and download:
Since 2016, York Region has trained over 150 Making Tracks leaders who are now bringing children these important life skills, encouraging an active and healthy lifestyle - walking and rolling to and from school and around the community.
“Overall the kids really enjoyed the experience. It was a program that they showed a lot of enthusiasm for and keenly participated in.” – Grade 6 teacher
“The kids loved this and wish we had even more time with the scooters!” – Gym teacher
Active School Travel
Active School Travel
The Active School Travel pilot program is a partnership between York Region, Town of Newmarket, Smart Commute Central York, York Region District School Board and the York Catholic District School Board. The program aims to encourage and educate families and students to use active transportation, such as walking or biking/wheeling to get to and from school. In addition, we encourage those who can to take the school bus. This reduces traffic congestion in school zones and increases awareness of active travel in the community.
The York Region Active School Travel pilot program is a unique opportunity that allows schools to select a variety of tools that will meet the needs of their community while encouraging active school travel (AST) and reducing traffic congestion.
Sidewalk Stencils provide active and engaging activities for students and families on walking routes!
Wayfinding Signage assists students and families in planning an active route to school. These also make great spots to meet up!
Getting students to walk and wheel to school improves their physical and mental health and gives them the chance to spend time with their friends and get to know their community. Encouraging children to walk and cycle to their destination at an early age helps them develop good lifelong habits.
DRIVE TO FIVE!
If you choose to drive your child to school, park your car a few blocks away and walk the rest of the way to reduce traffic congestion. Follow all street signage and obey parking bylaws.
To see the Active Travel Map of your school community click the links below:
Alexander Muir Public School (PDF)
Maple Leaf Public School (PDF)
Notre Dame Catholic Elementary School (PDF)
Prince Charles Public School (PDF)
St. Elizabeth Seaton Elementary School (PDF)
Stonehaven Public School (PDF)
Walking Wednesday Newsletter
Promoting Active Travel To and From School
Walking Wednesdays is a resource that encouraging families to choose active transportation for the trip to and from school instead of driving in a private vehicle.
Walking Wednesday/Active transportation programs:
- Are fun and engage the whole school community
- Encourage school communities to walk, bike, take the bus and/or park and walk a block!
- Are social! Spend time with family and friends, and meet new people
- Enhance school safety by decreasing the volume of vehicles at school
- Increase physical activity, improves physical, mental and emotional health while also benefiting our environment
- Improve student success by improving health and wellness
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful air pollutants
Bicycle and Helmet Safety
Cycling is the most popular outdoor activity among young Canadians. Unfortunately, every year 50,000 children are seriously injured in bike related mishaps. Wearing a certified helmet can reduce the risk of serious head injuries by 85 per cent.
Children and youth (under 18) are required by law to wear a helmet with the chin strap clip fastened under the chin when cycling. Kids imitate their parents. Ninety-eight per cent of children will wear their helmets if their parents do, so wear one every time you ride.
Before age ten, most children do not have the skills to cycle safely on the road and they need help to make good choices. Children under nine years should cycle with responsible adults at all times.
Begin each cycling season and each ride with a complete bike inspection. If your bike is not in perfect shape take it to a bike shop for a check-up. Check for:
- Size of bike: Make sure your bike is the proper size. A bike that is too big or too small will be hard to control. You should be able to comfortably straddle the bike frame while standing flat footed on the ground. There should be at least a 2-3 inch gap between you and the top bar
- Tire Pressure: Make sure your tires are properly inflated
- Chain: Check the bike's chain to make sure it's clean and lubricated
- Brakes: Check your brakes for even pressure. They should make your back wheels skid on dry pavement, but you don't want brakes that stick
Components of a Safe Bike
Some bicycle equipment is required by law, while other equipment is recommended.
- Helmet: Cyclists under 18 are required by law to wear a helmet when cycling. The helmet has to be on your head and the chin strap clip must be fastened under the chin. Does your helmet fit properly? Check our helmet fit brochure and see
- Light and reflector: If you ride 30 minutes before sunset and/or 30 minutes before sunrise, you need a white light (not just a reflector) and a red rear reflector or red rear light
- Bell or horn: A bell or horn that works must be attached to the bike
- Reflective tape: White reflective tape on the front forks, red reflector tape on the front and rear stay
- Basket: Having a basket lets you keep your hands free for steering
- Water Bottle: A water bottle and cage allow you to stay hydrated
- Shoes: When cycling, wear shoes that cover your toes and back of your foot like running shoes
- Bright Clothing: Reflective and bright clothing make you more visible to drivers when riding in the dark
- Eyewear: Protective eyewear can keep the sun, bugs and wind from blinding you
Cycling Safety Laws
Be Seen — Be Heard — Be Safe
Did you know?
Ontario law requires that you equip your bike with:
- White reflective tape on the front forks and red reflective tape on the rear forks
- A white front light and a red rear light or reflector if you ride between 1/2 hour before sunset and 1/2 hour after sunrise
- A bell or horn that works
Every cyclist under 18 years of age must wear an approved bicycle helmet
Helmets are not mandatory for adults, but wearing a helmet can help reduce the risk of permanent injury or death if you fall or collide.
We strongly recommend that all cyclists wear helmets.
Traffic Laws and Fines
Your bicycle is considered a vehicle and falls under the jurisdiction of the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) The following are just some of the offences you could be fined for under the HTA:
- Improper bicycle lighting: $20
- Improper or no helmet (under 18): $60
- Parent/guardian knowingly permit person under 16 – no helmet: $60
- No bell/ no horn: $85
- Ride in or along crosswalk: $85
- Ride two on a bicycle: $85
- Attachment to vehicle: $85
- Disobey stop sign – fail to stop: $85
- Fail to signal for turn: $85
- Transportation and Cycling Resources
- Cycling Safety Checklist and Factsheet
- Injury Prevention Resources
- York Cycling Handbook
- York Region Cycling Yearbook
- Teaching Resource Walking
- Teaching Resource Scootering
- Teaching Resource Cycling
- Left Turn Bike Boxes
- Making Tracks
- Pedestrian and Cyclists Visibility at Night
- Pedestrian Safety - Running
- Pedestrian Safety - Eye Contact
- Pedestrian Safety - Crosswalks
- How to Use Sharrows to Cycle Safely
- How to Cycle Safely Through Intersection
- Protected Bike Lanes
- Walking to School
- Winter Cycling