To the Editor:
In the past two years, there were 11,734 bicycle and pedestrian-related crashes near Ohio K-8 schools resulting in 244 fatalities and 7,350 injuries. Numbers of course can’t begin to depict the heartbreak that parents, teachers and students feel when anyone is involved in a crash near their school. Safely walking and biking to school is everyone’s opportunity and responsibility. It’s simply a matter of increasing awareness and obeying some basic rules.
When crossing a street, we should all walk directly across from corner to corner and preferably in a crosswalk at a traffic light with a pedestrian signal. Walkers and bicyclists should watch for parked cars that might move or open their doors unexpectedly.
Bicyclists should wear proper gear, including a bike helmet and bright clothing. They should always ride in the same direction as traffic and use headlights, taillights and reflectors when it’s dark.
These and other safety tips are posted on the Ohio Department of Transportation’s “Every Move You Make, Keep It Safe” Web site at www.everymove.ohio.gov. They are part of a comprehensive Safe Routes to School program that’s helping many of our local elementary schools teach safe walking and biking tips to students. Schools and students can also participate in an interactive School Safety Contest that will award prizes for creating messages and materials that engage students and improve their safety knowledge.
Let’s all take a few minutes to learn the rules and most importantly, practice them every day. Parents, talk to your children. Teachers, talk to your students. Set good examples of safe walking, bicycling and driving behavior, and stay alert when traveling in or around school zones.
Let’s all keep it safe out the door.
Lloyd V. MacAdam, P.E., P.S., CPM
ODOT District 11 Deputy Director