National Bike and Walk to School Day Today, October 4
October is National Pedestrian Safety Month. This observance recognizes the right of everyone to walk or roll safely and reminds drivers of their responsibility to stay alert for pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable road users. Today, October 4th, schools from all over participated in National Bike and Walk to School Day. Thanks to Mayor Paula Perotte, City of Goleta Police Chief Lt. Rich Brittingham, Community Resource Deputy George Hedricks, and the California Highway Patrol for joining students at Brandon School to encourage walking and rolling to school.
It’s a two-way street. Drivers and pedestrians must work together to demonstrate safe behaviors on the road, helping to protect themselves and those around them. The Office of Traffic Safety and their partners provide the following tips for pedestrians and drivers.
Safety tips for pedestrians:
- Make yourself visible: wear bright colored clothes and carry a flashlight if you are walking at night.
- Avoid dangerous behaviors: always walk on the sidewalk (no jaywalking), stay sober and make eye contact with drivers – don’t assume the driver can see you.
- Stay off your phones, talking and especially texting distracts you from paying attention to your surroundings.
- Look before you step: cross streets at marked crosswalks/intersections, obey traffic signals and watch for turning vehicles.
- Look left-right-left before crossing a street.
- Be predictable. Use crosswalks.
Safety tips for drivers:
- Don’t speed, follow the speed limit and never use your phone; always be cautious of your surroundings.
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Look out for pedestrians, especially in hard-to-see conditions such as at night or in bad weather.
- Pedestrians have the right of way at any crosswalk or intersection, so yield and be prepared to stop.
- Stop at the crosswalk stop line to give drivers in other lanes an opportunity to see and yield to pedestrians too.
- Be cautious when backing up – pedestrians, especially young children, can move across your path.
It’s also important to teach children how to walk safely. Below are tips from Safe Kids Worldwide.
- Teach kids at an early age to look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Then remind them to continue looking until safely across.
- It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
- Teach kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
- Children under 10 need to cross the street with an adult. Every child is different, but developmentally, most kids are unable to judge the speed and distance of oncoming cars until age 10.
- Encourage kids to be especially alert for cars that are turning or backing up.
- Teach kids not to run or dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
- If kids are walking when it’s dark out, teach them to be especially alert and make sure they are visible to drivers. Have them wear light- or brightly-colored clothing and reflective gear.
If we all follow these few simple suggestions, we can improve our individual safety while enjoying the benefits of walking and enjoying our community.