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Take the Walking School BusApril 5th, 2011 | by admin admin | in Safety Advice | 3
With warmer weather arriving, why not encourage your kids to walk or ride a bike to school after spring break? Are you worried about safety? Perhaps your school or neighbourhood could organize a walking school bus / bicycle train. DASH BC (the Directorate of Agencies for School Health) offers free starter kits.(Visit Site)Schools can even apply for up to 500 dollars' worth of incentive equipment, such as bicycle racks and locks, and pedometers.
The American CDC (Centers for Disease Control) also offers several resources on organizing a walking school bus, and pedestrian safety for kids.
Its detailed Kids Walk-to-School guide to promote walking to school includes the following safety tips:
- Walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk and you have to walk on the road, face the traffic so you can see cars coming. Keep as far from traffic as possible.
- Cross only at corners or marked crosswalks.
- Stop at the curb or edge of the road, look left, then right, and then left again (left-right-left) before you step into the street. If a car is parked where you are crossing, make sure there is no driver in the car. Then go to the edge of the car and look left-right-left until no cars are coming. Keep looking for cars while you are crossing.
- Walk, don’t run. This gives time for drivers to see you before you enter the roadway.
- Always wear a helmet that is properly fitted (and in Canada, CSA-approved).
- Ride on the right side of the road or trail in a single file (one bicycle behind another) in the same direction as other vehicles and come to a complete stop before crossing streets.
- Stop completely before crossing railroad tracks and go straight across the tracks slowly.
- Always use proper hand signals when turning and stopping.
- Be courteous to pedestrians.
- Use a bicycle bell to alert pedestrians that you are passing (this is effective for preventing crashes).
Of course, these safety rules aren’t just for kids. Adults need to model pedestrian and bicycling safety. Plus, you’ll also be modelling an active lifestyle and reducing your carbon footprint.
Walking or cycling also helps reduce vehicle traffic. Since many schools don’t have much road space for pick up and drop off, traffic congestion is a major safety concern at the beginning and end of the school day. Even parking a block or two away helps. If you must drive, you can still join a walking school bus for part of your commute. You just have to take the first step.
Would a walking school bus work in your community? Do you have tips for walking or cycling to work or school? Post a comment below.
Author: Susanna Chu