The back-to-school season is one of the most dangerous times of the year for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The National Safety Council (NSC) is reminding motorists they face back-to-school accident risks at virtually every turn, from dealing with school buses and school zones, to dropping off or picking up children at school, to watching for walkers and bicyclists throughout urban and suburban neighborhoods.
- Slow down: Obey school zone limits and be particularly aware during student pickup or drop-off.
- Pickup/Dropoff: Don't double park. Don't load or unload children across the street from a school. Consider carpooling to reduce congestion and increase safety.
- Pedestrian safety: Watch for walkers. Don't block crosswalks. Stop and yield to pedestrians. Take extra care near schools; expect children to act unpredictably. Never pass a vehicle stopped for a pedestrian.
- School buses: Allow a greater following distance to increase visibility and reaction time. Laws in all 50 states require you to stop for a school bus with red flashing lights. Yellow flashing lights mean a bus is about to stop. Children are taught not to cross behind a bus, which means they are more likely to cross in front of the bus; of course, children do not always follow these instructions, so be alert whether you are approaching the bus from the front or rear. Disembarking passengers may be hidden by the bus until the last second as they cross the street.
- Bicycle safety: Give riders plenty of room. Don't turn in front of a rider and don't open your door into a travel lane before looking behind you for an approaching cyclist.
School Bus Safety
Statistically, riding a school bus is one of the safest modes of transportation for students. The highest risk for student injury is while getting on or off the bus or while waiting at the bus stop. Students should be taught to wait at least six feet from the curb and to wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before approaching or attempting to board.
Here's some more advice: follow the driver's instructions. Wait for a signal to board, disembark, or cross in front of the bus. Never reach under the bus for dropped items. Watch for traffic before crossing in either direction.
Bicyclist and pedestrian safety
The vast majority of pedestrian and bicycle accidents in school zones are caused by careless drivers. However, there are steps your child can take to reduce the likelihood of being injured.
Student Walker Safety
- Use the sidewalk. If walking in the street is necessary, walk facing traffic.
- Look both ways. Look left (direction of travel of traffic closest to you), right and then left again.
- Don't walk out from between parked cars or other obstructions that limit motorist visibility.
- Don't walk distracted, which means no headphones or cell phones.
Parents should practice walking the route to school with their children. Teach them the safest route and scout for possible risks along the route.
Student Bicycle Safety
- Wear a helmet.
- Know and obey the rules of the road. Ride single file. Stop before crossing the street. Ride in the direction of traffic.
- Always watch for upcoming hazards, including crossing pedestrians and opening car doors.
- Use hand signals and wear bright-colored clothing.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian or bicycle accident because of a negligent driver's actions, don't hesitate to consult with an experienced attorney at Mike Slocumb Law Firm.