Back To School Bike Safety Tips

It’s that time of year again! School is back in session and that means children are flooding the streets during the week between 7:00 a.m. and 5 p.m. The Department of Motor Vehicles asks that drivers please remember to take extra caution when driving near a school, and that you be sure to teach your children to be careful when crossing streets and riding their bikes. To keep everyone safe on the roads and in the crosswalks, Bike Friendly Duncanville offers these helpful traffic safety tips.

Watch for children on or near the road
Being attentive is not only reserved for the classrooms, but should be applied on the road as well. Always drive more carefully near schools, playgrounds, parks, and residential areas because children may suddenly dart into the street. Also, many children have not yet developed the ability to judge speeds and distances well enough to cross streets safely when cars are moving fast. Children may see cars coming, but still decide to cross because they think they have enough time to do so or that the cars will stop to let them cross.

When driving near a school while children are outside or crossing the street, the speed limit is 20 mph unless otherwise posted. If the school does not have a fence and children are outside, never drive faster than 20 mph. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the school zones near your area because some school zones may have speed limits as low as 15 mph.

Practice safe roadway procedures when near a school
Be aware of bicyclists and pedestrians. Being aware of what is happening around you before you need to react will allow for a faster and potentially life-saving reaction.

Be sure to obey school safety patrols or school crossing guards’ directions. Allow the guard or patrol to safely get to the side of the road before driving ahead.

Stop or slow down for school buses. Some school buses flash yellow lights when preparing to stop to let children off the bus. The yellow flashing lights warn drivers to slow down and prepare to stop. As required by law, when red lights are flashing on a bus, oncoming drivers as well as drivers behind the bus must stop until the children are safely across the street and the lights stop flashing. Failure to comply with this law will result in a fine up to $1,000 and driving privileges could be suspended for one year.

Teach your children tips on how to cross the street safely
Crossing the street may not be as easy as your ABC’s. To ensure your children’s safety, teach them to look both ways before crossing the street and to follow crossing signals. If there is a guard or patrol, have your children cross with them. Here are more helpful tips for those walking to school:

– Never “jaywalk” or cross a street between intersections. Always cross at a crosswalk or designated crossing path.- Do not suddenly leave a curb or other safe place and walk or run into the path of a vehicle close enough to be a danger to you.

– If there is no sidewalk, walk in the direction that faces the oncoming traffic.

– When a signal first changes to green or “WALK” for you, look left, right, and then left again and yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection before crossing the street.

Teach your children bike safety
If your children ride their bike to school, go over the rules of the road with them. Teach your children the proper hand signals for turning and lane changes. An extended left arm signals to drivers that a bicyclist is turning left and an extended right arm signals that the bicyclist is turning right. Another way to signal a right turn is to hold your left arm up with your elbow bent. An extended left arm down, signals stopping or slowing. Bicyclists should always look over their shoulder before making a turn or lane change.

Remember that bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Drivers must allow bicyclists to merge first when making a right hand turn. However, bikers should always take caution when doing so to avoid a mishap if a driver is not paying attention.

Make sure all proper equipment is installed in your children’s bicycles such as lights and reflectors and stress the importance of always wearing a helmet.

By following these few safety tips you will be on your way to a safe school year!

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