Back to School – Keep Your Young Pedestrians Safe

Back to School – Keep Your Young Pedestrian Safe

Pedestrian Accident Lawyers - Sarasota, Bradenton, Punta Gorda, Tallahassee
In the next few weeks, children from Sarasota, Bradenton, Punta Gorda and Tallahassee will be heading back to school. Unfortunately, almost 25% of all injuries and fatalities involving children happen in and around schools. In fact, nearly 20% of all children 14 and younger killed in traffic accidents are pedestrians. To keep our children safe, it is important for all motorists and young pedestrians or bicyclists to follow the safety tips below.

Driving with Young Pedestrians in Mind:

According to studies by the National Safety Council (NSC), the majority of school bus related fatalities involve children 4 to 7 years old, while they are walking. They are either hit by the school bus or by a driver who is illegally passing the school bus. The safety tips below will help ensure the children’s safety.

  • Pay extra attention around school zones for children walking or on bicycles.
  • If you are driving in a school zone when the safety flashers are blinking, stop and yield to the pedestrians in the crosswalk or intersection.
  • Do not pass another vehicle that has already stopped to allow pedestrians to cross.
  • Stop your vehicle if a school crossing guard is holding up a STOP sign.
Keeping Young Bicyclists Safe:

Bicyclists usually have the same responsibilities as the operators of motor vehicles. Children riding bicycles can create unsafe conditions because of their lack of knowledge of proper traffic rules or experience in judging traffic conditions. The most common cause of traffic accidents involving bicyclists is a motorist turning left in front of a bicyclist.

  • When turning left and there is an oncoming bicyclist, stop and let the bicyclist pass first.
  • If you’re turning right and a bicyclist is approaching from behind you, stop and let the bicyclist pass first.
  • Before making any turn, always use your turn signals to give bicyclists a warning of your intentions.
  • When passing a bicyclist going in the same direction, slow down and give them at least three feet of space between your vehicle and their bicycle.
  • Children will turn in front of you without looking or giving a signal. Pay extra attention to young bicyclists around you.
  • Be on the lookout for bicyclists coming from driveways or from behind parked cars.
  • Check your side and rearview mirrors before opening your vehicle doors.
  • Use extra caution around school zones and residential areas.
Keeping School Bus Riders Safe:

In all 50 states, if a school bus has stopped to load or unload children, it is illegal to pass. If you are following a school bus, give yourself more time to stop by following at a greater distance than you would normally follow another vehicle.

  • Never pass a stopped school bus from behind.
  • If you are on an undivided roadway and a school bus is stopped in any lane, you must stop.
  • The most dangerous place for children riding school buses is the area 10 feet around the school bus. When you stop near a school bus, give the children plenty of room.
  • Children are often unaware or ignore risks and can be unpredictable. Pay extra attention when stopped or traveling near school buses.
Tips for Young Pedestrians:

While it is important for motorists to pay close attention to their surroundings while driving, it is equally important for children to do the same. Children walking or riding their bike to school should be taught to to do so safely. Parents should spend time with their children, teaching them how to cross roads safely and then practicing what they have learned on real streets and crosswalks.

While teaching or practicing with your child, remember these safety tips:

  • Look for vehicles everywhere. This includes driveways or drivers in parked cars that may be getting ready to move.
  • Stop at the curb before entering the roadway.
  • Look for traffic in all directions, left, right, behind and in front, while stopped.
  • Do not cross the street until no traffic is coming.
  • While crossing the street, continue looking for traffic.
  • Do not run across the street, walk across.
Tips for Parents:

If you’re contemplating allowing your children to walk or ride their bike to school, remember, there is no magical age that a child is ready to walk or ride without adult supervision. Each child is different. It’s up to you as a parent to decide when your child has the experience and skills to safely navigate traffic without you present. When you decide the time has come to allow them to walk or ride their bike to school, these tips can help keep them safe.

  • Find places where there are sidewalks or paths to keep your child separated from motorists.
  • If sidewalks or paths aren’t available, have them walk or ride as far from the traffic as possible and if possible, on the side of the street facing traffic.
  • Try to limit the number of streets they will cross.
  • If possible, have them cross intersections where adult crossing guards are available.
  • If possible, children should avoid crossing at busy intersections or high speed zones.
The lawyers of Lutz, Bobo & Telfair, P.A. understand how devastating pedestrian accidents can be, especially when it involves a minor child. Our compassionate attorneys have the experience and skill required to get you the justice you deserve. We offer no cost initial consultations for all injury cases. We also work on a contingency basis for all injury cases. This means you owe no attorney’s fees unless we settle your case or win a favorable verdict in court. To learn more about how our pedestrian accident lawyers can help, call us today or send us an email. We’re here to help YOU.

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