Look, listen, and be seen. Be a safe pedestrian”. – Unknown
This Wednesday, October 5th, marks International Walk to School Day. Walking and/or biking to school is an awesome way for children to get to class, get active, and have fun! Before your kids head out on the road, have a conversation with them about the importance of pedestrian safety. Knowing the rules of the road, following traffic signals, using sidewalks, and cross walks can help your children stay safe and avoid injury. To get started, here’s a few tips to spark open conversations that can keep your kids safe while they walk and bike to school.
Tips to keep your kids safe:
- Follow traffic signals. It’s important for your children to understand the rules of the road. Before your children begin walking or biking to school with friends, teach them to obey all traffic laws by stopping at crosswalks, looking both ways before crossing, and understanding traffic signals.
- Left, right, and left again. Before crossing intersections or residential streets, teach your children to use the strategy of looking left, right and left again. Looking left, right, and left again before crossing can help your kids’ spot oncoming cars and cross the street safely.
- Eye Contact. Before proceeding through a street or crossing in front of a car, encourage your children to make eye contact with the driver. Making eye contact alerts drivers to pedestrian’s presence and decrease accidents.
- Wear a helmet. Unfortunately, accidents happen, and wearing a helmet while biking can help your child avoid serious injury while biking. Choose a helmet that is bright and noticeable for drivers to notice and that fits properly for your child’s head size. Remember, helmet straps should be tight and secure and helmets should not slide off while riding. For more information on helmet safety and choosing a properly fitting helmet for your child, please click here.
- Stay Alert. While cell phones can be distracting, there are also many other things that lead to distracted pedestrians. Listening to music, reading, and/or playing video games can also be dangerous. Teach your children to avoid these by encouraging them to put away distracting materials and stay alert at all times.
- Use the sidewalk. Using the sidewalk is always a good idea and if a sidewalk is present, it should be used at all times. Explain to your children the dangers of jay walking or biking in non- bicycle traffic lanes. This action keeps both pedestrians and drivers safe.
Now that you know a little about bicycle and pedestrian safety, take a look at these videos with your children for even more tips on bicycle and pedestrian safety.