Georgetown Elementary and Middle Schools are teaching new students and reminding those returning to school of safety tips that apply outside of the classroom.
Detective Joey Melvin says a couple hundred students walk or bike to Georgetown Elementary and Middle Schools and he wants to ensure they take the proper steps to arrive safely.
“We’re going to see a huge increase in our number of pedestrians and cyclists,” says Melvin. “With that, our streets will be busier.”
The Georgetown School Resource Officer wants to reinforce safety tips to returning students and help newcomers learn them. Melvin encourages kids to wear reflective gear while walking to and from school, travel in groups, and of course to make sure no cars are coming when they cross. He says parents should walk the route with their kids before school starts. and that drivers should be on the lookout as a few of his students have been hit in recent years.
“Many times it’s been at the fault of the walker who didn’t walk at the proper intersection or didn’t pay attention to oncoming traffic,” says Melvin.
Some crosswalks have since been updated so that students can push a button to make traffic stop before they cross the street.
Melvin also advises:
- Parents should walk their child’s route each year to become familiar and identify any changes or hazards that may be present.
- Walkers should make sure to use crosswalks, standing at the corner of the intersection and looking both ways before crossing. If no crosswalks are provided, always walk facing traffic, watch for turning vehicles and make sure vehicles come to a complete stop before crossing.
- Walkers should never enter a street between parked cars due to limited visibility and walk far enough in front of stopped vehicles, so they are clearly seen. Students should make sure to walk, not run, while crossing the streets.
- As an added precaution, parents could add bright or reflective items to a child’s backpack to help increase visibility.
- Drivers should take extra time and precautions to ensure the safety of student walkers. Drivers should slow down and make sure to be alert and patient not only in school zones, but at intersections, median and curbs where students may travel to or from school.
- Drivers should be prepared for children to enter the roadways and leave plenty of space when stopped near crosswalks so other drivers can see any approaching pedestrians.
- Drivers are encouraged to be patient when other vehicles are stopped for pedestrians, and not pass those vehicles.
- In conjunction with state law, drivers should not be talking on cell phones or texting while driving.
- Be alert for an increase in bicyclists. To prevent collisions, drivers should anticipate bicyclists who may not follow the rules of the roadway.