Thirteen percent of children typically walk or bike to school, according to AAA Northern New England.
The afternoon hours are particularly dangerous.
“Drivers must watch for children walking or riding a bike, reduce their speeds in school zones and stop for school buses,” said AAA Northern New England’s Manager of Public Affairs Pat Moody.
Tips for drivers issued by AAA include:
Obey school zone speed limits.
Come to a complete stop at stop signs, checking carefully for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding. Research shows that more than one-third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods.
Allow at least three feet of passing distance between your vehicle and a bicyclist.
Children should remove headphones and put away cell phones and other electronic devices so they can hear and see traffic when crossing the street.
For student drivers and bicyclists:
Talk to your teen driver. No matter how good a student or how much you trust your teen, they are still inexperienced drivers.
If your child rides a bicycle to school, require that he or she wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet on every ride. Maine law requires helmets for bike riders under age 16.
Walk bikes across busy intersections and obey all traffic rules and signs. Ride single file and watch for opening car doors.
Educators can request the Schools Open Drive Carefully Teachers Guide to bring the message of traffic safety into the classroom. For more information or to obtain the guide, call AAA Traffic Safety at 780-6988.
For more back to school information, check out our full Back to School section here.