Back-To-School Safety: Pedestrian And Bicycle Safety

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The Garden City Police Department would like to address safety when it comes to pedestrians and bicyclists now that school is back in session. Parents, grandparents, guardians and teachers are encouraged to use this article to help teach their children about pedestrian/bicycle safety.

Pedestrian Safety:

  • Children should not walk while talking on a cell phone or texting.
  • Pedestrians should always use sidewalks when available and walk on the inside edge of the sidewalk farthest away from traffic. If a sidewalk is unavailable, pedestrians are encouraged to walk in a single file as close to the edge of the roadway as practical. You should also walk against the flow of traffic so that oncoming cars are visible.
  • Research has shown that until your child is at least eight years old, you should hold their hand on sidewalks and in parking lots. Furthermore, until they are 10 years old you should hold their hand while crossing the street.
  • Teach your children to be defensive and never assume that a driver sees them.
  • Avoid crossing streets at mid-block, especially when parked cars may obstruct motorists’ vision. Cross at stop signs, traffic signals, crosswalks and crossing guards when available.
  • When crossing a street, never assume a green light or ‘walk’ signal means it is safe to cross the street. Remember: look left, then right, then left again before crossing.
  • Remove earphones when preparing to cross the street. You will not be able to hear approaching traffic.
  • Do not follow others across the street until you have checked for yourself to see that it is safe to cross.
  • Walk the route to school with your child and discuss safe practices. Teach your children about traffic laws and encourage them to ask questions when they are unsure of what to do.
  • Crossing guards are near schools to assist children and others in safely crossing the street. It is a violation of New York State Law to disregard the signals and directions of crossing guards.
  • Teach your children to obey the directions given to them by crossing guards. This includes crossing only when directed, not running and not riding bicycles through the crossings.

Bicycle Safety:

  • Persons riding bicycles are subject to the same laws as motorists.
  • All bicyclists under the age of 14 are required to wear approved bicycle helmets when they are operators or passengers on bicycles. Parents should set a good example and wear a helmet.
  • Regardless of what the law requires, the Garden City Police Department recommends that all operators and passengers wear bicycle helmets. According to a 2020 report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 62 percent of bicyclists killed in accidents were documented as not wearing a bike helmet ;use was unknown in 23 percent of the fatalities.
  • Teach your children how to ride a bicycle and practice riding in a safe location where there are no cars. It is important for children to learn how to signal turns, slow down and stop without falling. Hand signals for bicyclists are the same as for motorists.
  • Teach your children to be defensive when riding and never assume a driver sees them.
  • Bicyclists should carefully look in all directions for vehicles, other bicyclists and pedestrians and be careful when approaching intersections or driveways where vehicles may be turning.
  • Children should walk their bicycles across intersections.
  • Bicycles should be ridden in bicycle lanes when available or as close to the right edge of the roadway as practical in the same direction as traffic.
  • Ride your bicycle in single file only.
  • Never use a bicycle to carry more people then it was designed to carry. Never ride anyone on the handlebars.
  • When riding a bicycle, wear bright colored clothing and make sure the bicycle has proper reflectors.
  • Bicyclists may not be able to hear or see approaching traffic while wearing earphones, talking on a phone or texting. It is illegal to wear more than one earphone while riding a bicycle.

A bicycle must be equipped with:

  1. a) Brakes that are capable of making the tires skid, on dry level pavement.
  2. b) A bell, horn or other device that can be heard at least a hundred feet away; sirens and whistles are not permitted.
  3. c) Bicycles driven between a half-hour after sunset and a half-hour before sunrise must be equipped with a white front headlight visible in darkness for at least 500-feet, and a red taillight visible for at least 300-feet.
  4. d) A bicycle, when purchased new and/or driven at night, must have reflective tires or wide-angle spoke-mounted reflectors. Reflectors must be colorless or amber for front wheels and colorless or red for rear wheels.

The Garden City Police Department encourages residents to incorporate these safe practices into their lives to make this school year a safe one.

—Submitted by the Garden City Police Department

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