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Transportation Safety Tips

Walking and Biking Tips

In an ongoing effort to improve the safety of students who walk or ride bikes to school, parents are encouraged to review the following fall and winter safety tips with their children.

Be seen

  • Wear bright-colored clothes, and if it is dark or hard to see, carry a flashlight and wear reflective gear. A variety of reflective gear is available in stores including zipper pulls, tape or tags for backpacks, and red blinking lights that clip onto shoes or clothing.
  • Bicyclists who ride in the dark are required by law to have their bikes equipped with a white headlight and a red rear reflector or taillight.
  • Walk or bike on the appropriate side of the road. If there is no sidewalk, be sure to walk on the side of the road facing traffic. Bicyclists should ride on the right side of the road, moving in the same direction as motor vehicles.

Dress appropriately

  • Layering is warmth. Wear many layers of loose clothing, as this ensures that there are pockets of air between the clothing layers that insulate the body from the cold.
  • Close “gaps” — neck and wrist openings are potential sites for heat loss. Wearing a scarf around the neck and long gloves or mittens can help close these gaps.
  • Ice and the occasional snow in the Northwest can make it difficult to walk, so a good pair of boots or other shoes with traction is essential.

Makes sure bicycles and bicycle equipment are in working order

  • Before riding a bike to school, check to see that the tires are inflated properly, the drive-train is clean and lubricated, and the brakes work.
  • Keep both hands ready to brake. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain, since brakes are less efficient when wet.
  • Remember to always wear a properly-fitted bicycle helmet. Head injuries cause 75 percent of bicyclist deaths.

With more students walking to and from school, parents are advised to review the following safe walking tips with children. Motorists throughout the community are encouraged to drive safely, slow down in school zones, and be aware there are greater numbers of children walking to and from school.

  • Walk with friends or family members. Younger children should always walk with an adult.
  • Walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, be sure to walk on the side of the road facing traffic.
  • Stay on a safe walking route. Don’t take shortcuts that could be dangerous. The district has identified safe walking routes for every school, which are posted on the Bus Schedules and Routes page.
  • Be careful for cars parked in driveways. Watch for cars or trucks parked in driveways, and look for drivers in parked cars who may be getting ready to move their vehicle.
  • When crossing the street, use an approved crossing area such as at a traffic signal or other marked intersection. Never dart out between parked cars, jaywalk, or use other illegal methods of crossing the street.
  • Stop, look, and listen. When crossing the street, use an approved crossing area. Stop at the curb or the edge of the road. Look and listen for moving cars in all directions. Wait until no traffic is coming and begin crossing. Keep looking for traffic until finished crossing.
  • Walk, don’t run, when crossing the street. Also, don’t push, shove, or chase others.
  • Obey traffic signs, signals, and school crossing guards.
  • Be safe, be seen. Wear brightly-colored clothing during the daytime to make it easier to be seen by drivers. When it is dark or hard to see outside, use a flashlight and wear reflective material on shoes, backpacks, and clothing.
  • Never take rides from people not arranged by parents.

Sources: National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, National Center for Safe Routes to School, Washington State Department of Transportation, and Mayo Clinic.

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