Prepare for safe walks to school

ITD recommends that children walk to school if they live within a reasonable distance and if they can do so safely. The added daily physical activity promotes good health, reduces congestion, improves air quality and saves natural resources while teaching children important traffic safety skills.
The National Safety Council also suggests that parents review with their children the correct way to cross a street.
Adults should walk or bike with their children to school the weekend before classes resume to help determine the safest travel route. Set a good example by using crosswalks and wearing a helmet when riding a bike.
Youngsters should always stop at the curb or the edge of the road and look left, then right, and then left again before crossing. They should continue looking in this manner until they are safely across the street or road.
Obey all traffic signals and/or crossing guards. Never cross the street against a "don't walk" light, even if you don't see any traffic coming.
Be visible to others. Wear reflective material if walking or biking to school in low-light conditions. If a driver's vision is blocked by a parked car or other obstacle, move out carefully to where drivers can see you and you can see other vehicles, then stop, and look left-right-left before proceeding. Always cross at intersections if possible.
Help children understand basic traffic rules that apply to them when they ride a bicycle:

  • Review hand signals for stopping and turning.
  • Insist they wear a bike helmet when riding to school. If you cannot afford to purchase a helmet, check with you child’s school for other options. According to the transportation department, bicyclists aged 4-19 account for most of the bicyclist/vehicle collisions in Idaho.
  • A helmet is the most effective way to prevent head injuries. Kids say they would wear a helmet if parents made it a rule, according to a recent study.

Published 8-19-2011