gmhTODAY Fall 2021 | Page 75

‘ Tis The ( School ) Season ... ( Continued )

Time To Refresh Your Traffic Safety Skills !

Young bicyclists are often unaware that they need to follow the rules of the road too , so if your children bike to school , inform them that they should come to a complete stop before every stop sign and walk their bikes across the street . Like cars , bicyclists should never pass a bus when it is unloading passengers . “ They pass on the right hand side where the kids are exiting the bus , so now the kids are stepping down into bicyclists ’ path and they can hit them and cause serious injury ,” Tice explained . Bicyclists should always be alert and avoid distractions like using their phones or having earbuds in both ears . Helmets are literal life savers , so be sure your children have fitted helmets and are wearing bright colors , so they are both protected and seen .
Children riding bikes pose special problems for drivers because they are often unable to properly assess traffic conditions . That ’ s why it ’ s up to you to keep a sharp eye out for cyclists when driving . Always be sure to keep at least three feet between your car and a cyclist when passing and always let a cyclist cross an intersection first . When making right and left turns , check ahead and in your rearview mirrors to make sure a cyclist isn ’ t coming .
The area ten feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for kids . Children who take the bus should always stand at least six feet from the curb and wait until it comes to a complete stop and the driver signals them to board . They should never dart around the front or the back of a bus .
One of the biggest problems bus drivers see is motorists ignoring the bus lights . “ Even though the number of buses are going down , the number of passes are going up ,” Tice said . “ It could be your neighbor ’ s kid that ’ s trying to cross the street and you hit [ them ]. [ The lights are ] there for a reason , and that ’ s to protect the children .” As a refresher , flashing yellow lights on a bus mean “ slow down ,” while red means “ stop .” Even when the lights aren ’ t flashing , watch out for children , and never pass a bus from behind , or from either direction if you ’ re on an undivided road .
Dropping Kids Off
When dropping children off , don ’ t double park . It blocks visibility for other children and vehicles . An issue Hernandez sees often is parents loading and unloading their children improperly .
“ Instead of dropping their kids off on the side of the school , sometimes they try to drop them off on the other side , and they ’ re trying to get their kids to cross the street and then I have to get their attention and say , no , no , you walk them across . Kids don ’ t cross by themselves ,” said Hernandez . Children should never be left unattended in a vehicle , no matter how short a time .
“ I see parents walking their kinders and first graders into the school , but leaving their younger siblings in the car unattended . It frustrates us as bus drivers because all of those kids are our kids . Just seeing that is very heartbreaking for us ,” Tice said .
Whether you ’ re a driver , pedestrian , bicyclist , or bus rider , Tice offers these words of wisdom , “ It ’ s not just about you , it ’ s about everybody . Your actions may cause somebody else ’ s reaction to cause an accident . So be mindful .”
Please stay alert , follow traffic rules , and keep our kids safe !
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