Get ready for Walk + Roll to School Day

Parkrose Pedal organizer Nichole Watson (middle) and other organizers at Saturday’s event. (Photo: City of Portland)

International Walk + Roll to School Day has been celebrated in dozens of countries around the world since 1997, and Portland has excitedly participated for years. But I suspect this year’s observance – set for this coming Wednesday, October 12th – will be even bigger than usual.

After more than two years of Zoom school cooping kids up inside, there’s a groundswell of enthusiasm for using active transportation to get kids to school. So is your school ready to celebrate next week? Here are some tips for people who want to participate.

Get inspired

It’s really catching on!

Portland’s own Sam Balto has invigorated international excitement with his bike bus videos, which are racking up millions of views on TikTok and inspiring people across the country to create similar programs at their school.

Here in Portland, bike buses are spreading far beyond the Alameda neighborhood: Shawne Martinez celebrated the Walk and Roll day early with a bike bus at his daughter’s school this past Wednesday, and Alida Cantor has also hopped on the bike bus by organizing a program in the Sunnyside neighborhood. And did you hear over 300 families turned out for the Parkrose Pedal last Saturday?!

The wheels of the bike bus are going ’round and ’round and won’t be stopping anytime soon, so hop on! Read up on Sam’s bike bus tips and be sure to hit the links at the end of his post.

Get funding

Metro has 25 $500 mini-grants to hand out to public K-12 schools in the Portland area to implement a Safe Routes Back to School strategy this year. Possible projects include:

  • Walking School Bus or Bike Train: An organized group of students who walk or bike to school together with adult supervision, following a designated route with stops where students join the group.
  • Park & Walk: Developing an off-site location for parents to drop their children off and walk to the school site to reduce idling, congestion, and increase student physical activity
  • School site amenities: Examples include: temporary traffic playground, additional bike/scooter storage, other ‘tactical urbanism’ on school site to enhance safety for walking/rolling
  • School choice!: Requires review by Metro SRTS Coordinator for eligibility, but Metro encourages unique and creative ideas to support kids in walking and rolling to school safely.

Grants will be given on a rolling basis, so there’s no deadline. But I’d be quick to try to snatch one if I were you. You can find more information and apply for the grant here.

More resources

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has a resource page for people looking to take part in this year’s International Walk + Roll to School Day, where you can find maps for walking and biking, tips for biking safely and more.

People who don’t live within walking or biking distance from school are encouraged to participate in the festivities too. PBOT has a guide for parking and walking to school that you can find here.

Good luck to all who participate. And if you’ve done this before, share your tips in the comments! We hope to see many kids on their bikes next week, and hopefully for many weeks to come.

Taylor Griggs

Taylor Griggs

Taylor was BikePortland's staff writer from 2021 to 2023. She currently writes for the Portland Mercury. Contact her at

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James N.
James N.
1 year ago

Barely related to this story but a bit of a predicament. I’ve walked my 9 year old to school nearly every day this school year. One day we were joined by another parent and their child. All the way to school the parent talked to me and the kids talked and I felt like I missed out on so much. The morning talks while we walk are one of the very best parts of my week.