Walking and Bike Safety

We encourage families who live within the walk zone to consider walking or biking to school.  When more children walk and bike to school, the auto pick up and drop off congestion around the school diminishes and makes it safer for everyone. The decision to walk and bike should take into account the child’s age and maturity level, the presence of sidewalks and crosswalks as well as the distance to school.  We recommend that parents take an active role in teaching their children the rules of the road, and practicing the best route to school with their children, pointing out crosswalks and how to be safe.  

The Rochester Planning Department created walk and bike route maps. Please review the map and the school safety tips on safe walking and biking.

 

Tips for walking to school

Where to walk.

Always walk on the sidewalk when available, rather than in the street. If there is no sidewalk and you must walk in the street, walk so you are facing the cars and can see traffic coming! Stay out of parking lots and be careful near driveways! These are places where drivers of cars are not usually looking for kids. Pat attention when you are walking. Assume that drivers can’t see you.

Crossing the street.

  1. The safest place to cross the street is in a marked crosswalk or at the intersections, not in the middle of the block.
  2. Walk, don’t run. Obey traffic signals.
  3. Stop at the curb or the edge of the street. Look for turning vehicles and listen for cars. If there are cars approaching, make sure the driver sees you and stops before you step into the street.
  4. Look left, look right, look left again, behind you and in front of you for traffic before crossing a street or stepping into traffic.
  5. Look across all lanes of traffic and make sure all lanes are clear before crossing.

See and be seen.

It is important that everyone can see you and you see them, especially when crossing the street. Wear bright colors or reflectors so that you are visible. If you are walking when it is dark, consider using a flashlight.

Walk with friends.

Walking in groups not only helps drivers see you better, it is a fun and healthy way to spend time together with your family or friends. You can walk to school with friends in your neighborhood by starting a “Walking School Bus”. It is a great way to stay safe and be seen on your walk to school.

Be aware of your surroundings.

Always pay attention to what is going on around you, it’ll help you stay safe and you’ll probably see some cool things you wouldn’t normally notice too! Watch for ice, water, bike riders, or any hazards in your path.

Have fun.

Walking is a fun way to get outside with your friends and family, take advantage of every opportunity you get to walk and you’ll be happy and healthy for life.

Tips for biking to school

Always wear a helmet.

A helmet protects your brain in case you fall over or crash. Wearing your helmet correctly will make sure it stays on to protect your head from injury. Make sure it is level and snug. You should be able to see the helmet brim.

Be visible.

Wear bright colors or reflectors so drivers can see you from far away. Roll up your pant leg and tie your shoes so they don’t get caught in the chain. Wear a helmet for every ride, even short ones! Avoid riding at night. If you ride when it is dark, make sure to use lights on the front and back of your bicycle.

Be Predictable.

It is important to follow all the rules of the road. Practice riding to school with an adult to learn hand signals, safety tips, landmarks and potential dangers. Control your bicycle by keeping at least one hand on the handlebars at all times. Carry books in a backpack or carrier to help you balance. Be sure to get permission from a parent before riding to school alone.

Be Alert.

  • Ride on the right side of the road going with the flow of traffic.
  • Ride in a straight line when riding with other bikers, not side by side.
  • When turning, look back for cars and use your hand signal.
  • Yield to traffic when appropriate. If you see people walking across the street, stop and wait for them to cross.  
  • Always stop at the end of your driveway and look left, right, and then left again before bicycling into the road.
  • Watch for cars backing out of driveways and for cross traffic at intersections.
  • Use your eyes AND ears. Don’t wear earphones or listen to music while you are riding so you can hear traffic.
  • Watch for and avoid dangers that can cause crashes, such as potholes, loose gravel or dogs.

Have Fun.

Have Fun! Bicycling is a fun way to get out and about with your friends and family, take advantage of every opportunity you get to bicycle and you’ll be happy and healthy for life!

ABC Quick Check for Your Bicycle:

  • Air: Squeeze your tires to make sure they are firm and full of air.
  • Brakes: Hold down your brakes and try to move your bicycle back and forth, if it doesn’t move your brakes are working.
  • Chain: Make sure your chain is black or silver and quiet when you ride, if it is orange or squeaky it is rusty and needs some oil.