Education and Encouragement
Encouragement and education are very effective yet quiet advocacy tools. Encouragement and education strategies are closely intertwined working together to promote walking and bicycling by rewarding participation and educating children and adults about safety and the benefits of bicycling and walking.
Education activities include teaching pedestrian, bicyclist and traffic safety and creating awareness of the benefits and goals of SRTS to students, staff, parents and the community.
Planning education strategies includes identifying:
- Who needs to receive information: Children, Parents, Community
- What information needs to be shared: Safety Benefits, Health Benefits, Educational Benefits
- How the messages will be conveyed: Newsletters, Classes, Meetings
Encouragement activities also offer "teachable moments" to reinforce pedestrian and bicyclist safety education messages.
Encouragement strategies are about having fun — they generate excitement and interest in walking and bicycling. Special events, mileage clubs, contests and ongoing activities all provide ways for parents and children to discover, or re-discover, that walking and bicycling are do-able and a lot of fun.
Encouragement activities also play an important role moving the overall SRTS program forward because they build interest and enthusiasm which can buoy support for changes that might require more time and resources, such as constructing a new sidewalk.
In brief, encouragement activities:
- Can be quick and easy to start.
- Can be done with little funding.
- Can be organized by parents, students, teachers or community volunteers.
- Jumpstart a community’s interest in walking and bicycling.
- Show quick success and generate enthusiasm for other strategies that may require a greater investment of time and resources.