Street Safety for Students

Monday, October 19, 2015

school-zone-signSchool is back in session, and National School Safety Week is October 17 - 23. It’s a great time to brush up on your street smarts! Whether you walk, bike or ride the bus, it’s important to be safety aware to protect yourself and those around you. Here are some tips for staying safe to and from school:

If you walk…

In 2014, over 400 pedestrian injury collisions were reported in Calgary alone. That means that on average, at least one person is hit and injured by a vehicle in Calgary every day. And that it doesn’t take into account collisions where the pedestrian wasn’t injured or collisions involving cyclists. In order to prevent these accidents from happening, keep these tips in mind.

  • Don’t text and cross. According to a recent study, one in five high school students crosses the street while distracted by technology. Even if what you’re doing on your phone is really important, take the time to look up and ensure that it is safe to cross.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing. Never assume that drivers have seen you. To avoid accidents, make eye contact with drivers to be sure they see you before you start crossing.
  • Cross only at intersections. Never cross the street in the middle of the block or against a signal.
  • Pay attention to street signs and traffic lights. Only cross the street when you get the signal that it’s safe to do so!
  • Don’t assume that all cars see you. Even if one car is slowing down or has stopped, there could be a car in the other lane that doesn’t see you and won’t stop. Wait until all cars in all lanes have stopped. Hold your arm out in front of you and then cross.

If you bike…

It’s important to remember that as a cyclist, you share the road with all sorts of vehicles. Here are a few things you can do to help ensure your safety.

  • Wear a helmet. Helmets are the single most effective safety device available to prevent head injury and even death in a bicycle crash. Even if you don’t like the way it looks on you, you’ll be glad you’re wearing one if you’re involved in a collision.
  • Know (and use) your signals. Drivers don’t know your next move unless you tell them. Use hand signals to indicate your turns well in advance to allow drivers to give you the space you need to safely navigate the road.
  • Have reflectors. Cyclists can be hard to see at night or early in the morning. Ensuring that your bike is equipped with reflectors will make you more visible to drivers and help prevent accidents.

If you take the bus…

You might think that as a passenger, you don’t play a role in road safety. On the contrary. Your actions on and off a bus can have a huge effect on your own safety, as well as the safety of those around you.

  • Stay in your seat. Moving from seat to seat can distract your bus driver and affect his or her visibility. Not to mention, if you’re standing and your bus is involved in a collision, you’re more likely to sustain an injury. So please, stay in your seat!
  • Don’t leave your belongings in the aisle. You’ll want to make sure the aisles of your bus are clear in case of an emergency. This will allow all passengers to safely reach an emergency exit without facing any barriers.
  • Don’t distract the driver. When you’re on the bus, you shouldn’t raise your voice, throw things, or do anything else that might affect your driver’s ability to focus on the road.
  • Be careful walking around the bus. Always cross the road in front of the bus – never behind. Walk at least 10 big steps from the front of the bus so the driver can see you.
  • Check that traffic has stopped. It is the law for vehicles travelling in both directions to stop for a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing. Look both ways to make sure that the traffic has stopped to allow you to cross. Then walk – never run – across the road.

By keeping street safety in mind, you can help make the road a safer place for everybody.

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