International Walk and Bike to School Day

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has just issued a safety advisory for International Walk and Bike to School Day. On Wednesday, October 8, 2014, U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx and Deputy Secretary Mendez will be participating in International Walk and Bike to School Day to raise awareness about the safety issues facing young pedestrians and cyclists who travel to and from school each day.

Sadly, about 100 children, from ages five to 18, are killed while walking or biking to school each year. Although walking and cycling to school offer students, teachers and parents great health benefits, those activities don’t come without risk. The NHTSA encourages parents to talk to their children about safe walking and riding practices and ways to improve their personal safety, but ultimately, it’s up to motorists to look out for kids. Listed below are some great safety tips for children and motorists.

Safety Tips for Children

• Pedestrians 10 years old and younger should be accompanied by an adult or young adult.
• Always use sidewalks when available, or walk as far left as possible.
• Never push, shove or horseplay with others when you’re walking.
• Always look left-right-left before crossing streets.
• Use crosswalks when available.
• When bicycling to school, always wear a helmet and buckle the chinstrap.
• Ride on lower-traffic streets.
• Always ride the same direction as traffic.
• Never wear headphones or use cell phones when riding.

Safety Tips for Motorists

• Always be on the lookout for pedestrians, big and small.
• Use extra caution when visibility is reduced, at night or in poor weather.
• Slow down and be prepared to stop at crosswalk areas.
• Always yield to pedestrians.
• Never pass vehicles at crosswalk areas, there could be children or other pedestrians crossing that you can’t see.
• Never drive distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
• Always follow speed limits, and be especially vigilant in school zones.
• Use additional caution when backing up.

Getting to School Safely

Getting children to and from school safely needs to be a priority for the entire community. Parents should talk with their children about safe pedestrian and cycling tips, and motorists should be on the lookout for students, especially in school zones. Early morning and afternoon rush hours can be hectic, so allow additional time to get where you’re going, because you’re sharing the road with children.

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