It’s back to school time, which means we’re sharing the road with young pedestrians, young cyclists and school buses, more than any other time of the year. Safety for school aged children requires total awareness from drivers and an understanding of designated school zones. Sharing the road with young students, means sharing the road with school busses. There are important rules and tips that we can all follow to ensure safety on the road for young commuters.
According to the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus related incidents are 4-7 years old and they’re walking. In 2017, 95 people were killed and 12,000 were injured in school-bus related crashes. Children are often hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped school bus. Never pass a bus from behind or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road, if it is stopped to load or unload children. Remember that the area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children. Give children enough space to safely enter and exit the bus. Always be cautious of children around you, as they are often unpredictable and tend to ignore hazards.
Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles on the road, but young cyclists require extra space and attention. Be mindful that children sharing the road with motorists are not able to properly determine traffic conditions as well as an adult can. Young cyclists are more likely to turn in front of you without looking or signaling. Remember to be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods.
If you’re dropping children off at school, please remember the following:
• Educate yourself on the school’s drop-off procedures for the school year.
• DO NOT load or unload children across the street from the school.
• Don’t double park, as it could block visibility for other children and vehicles.
• Carpooling reduces the number of vehicles on the road and at the school.