Pedestrian safety urged as children go back to school

School crossing sign
School crossing sign(KBTX)
Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 8:00 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - As school starts back up, children across the state will be walking, biking or bussing to class – all of which involve vehicle traffic and potential danger, UW Health says.

The number of traffic fatalities this year in Dane County has already exceeded the total for all of 2020, according to officials from the Dane County Traffic Safety Commission. This includes an unusually high number of pedestrians struck by motor vehicles.

“Children on foot or riding a bike can be difficult to see because they are simply smaller than adults,” Shawn Koval, schools coordinator of Healthy Kids Collaborative, said.

Drivers should always be aware and slow down, especially in school zones and pay close attention in high pedestrian-volume areas, Koval said. It’s important to remember the hefty fines and penalties for speeding in school zones too, he added.

For parents and children there are some things they can do to stay safe on the way to school:

  • Plan ahead: Learn or review your route ahead of time.
  • Join a “walking school bus:” Some schools and families organize group walks to school.
  • When walking:
    • Look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
    • Put down phones, headphones and other devices when crossing the street.
    • Children younger than 10 should cross the street with an adult.
  • When riding a bike to school:
    • Wear a properly fitted helmet.
    • Use hand signals and follow the rules of the road.
    • Wear bright colors.
    • Adults should ride with younger children.

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