Walking or biking to school gives children a sense of freedom and responsibility, allows them to enjoy the fresh air, and familiarizes them with their neighborhood while getting them to school alert, refreshed, and ready to start their day.
Children in elementary grades who regularly walk and bike with their parents are likely to make safer choices in middle school and when they get access to car keys.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
- Be alert. Everything else on the road is bigger and faster than you are – from skateboards to bicycles to cars.
- Don’t assume drivers see you! Make eye contact – especially at intersections and driveways.
- Obey adult crossing guards or the safety patrol. They are there to help you cross congested intersections safely.
- Be predictable. Do not jump off the curb for a fast start or make other sudden moves that place you in the path of oncoming vehicle traffic. Wait your turn at traffic signals.
- Cross at corners. Although you generally have the right of way at intersections, use caution and look both ways. Crossing mid-block is risky as well as being illegal near traffic signals. If you cross between intersections or outside of designated crosswalks, you must yield to motorists.
- When the red flashing hand appears, DO NOT start to cross a signalized intersection. Wait for the next light cycle and walk when the white walk signal appears. If you are in the intersection when the red hand starts flashing, continue walking to the other side.
Teach Kids to be Wise Walkers
Teach your kids, especially those between five and nine years of age, to be wise walkers. Children in this age group often lack the understanding to deal safely with traffic.
Find ways to practice pedestrian safety with your children during your day-to-day activities – while playing, on walks to school, in parking lots, etc. Ask your children to be on the lookout for unsafe behaviors by other children, or even grown-ups (riding without a helmet, jaywalking, etc.).
Remember to make it fun!
Resources for Walkers
Safe Kids Worldwide is a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. Teach children the following pedestrian safety rules.
Crosswalk Safety: Myth vs. Reality Learn how to be safe when using crosswalks.