Ohio motorists must be mindful that as the school year begins, there will be an upsurge of pedestrians and bicyclists in school zones.
Drivers need to plan for this by leaving home a bit early if necessary to avoid the temptation to speed, roll through stop signs, or pass buses or other vehicles stopped for students.
The National Safety Council gives advice to help educate parents, students and other road users on the best driving practices to ensure safety across the board.
How Children See the Road Differently
Children are at a higher risk of being involved in pedestrian and bicycle accidents for a number of reasons:
- Children have a field of vision that is approximately one-third lower than adults'.
- Children cannot easily or accurately judge a vehicle's speed or distance.
- Children may assume that if they can see the car, the driver can see them.
- Children can't easily tell from which direction a sound is originating.
- Children are often impatient and impulsive, and they tend to have a limited sense of danger.
- Children are more likely to concentrate on a single thing at once (and that thing generally is not traffic).
- Children often mix fantasy and reality.
- Children frequently imitate the bad behavior of older children.
All of this gives you an idea that while a child may have been trusted to commute to school, drivers nearby need to be mindful that these aren't simply "little adults."
If you're a parent, you must understand the potential risk your child is taking on and make sure you've drilled them on ways to keep themselves safe.
Tips for Child Bicyclists, Pedestrians
If your child walks to or from school, teach them the following best practices:
- Keep to the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk and you have no choice but to walk in the street, make sure you are facing oncoming traffic so you can see potential risks as they approach.
- Never dart out in front of a car - even a parked one.
- If you need to cross the street, make sure you stop. Look left, right and then left again so you know whether cars are coming.
It's a good idea for parents to practice walking the route with their child, making certain they understand how to cross streets at crosswalks. If your child plans to ride a bicycle to school, make sure he or she follows these best safety practices, as outlined by the National Safety Council:
- Wear a helmet every time, no exceptions. These helmets must be properly secured and fitted.
- Make certain your child understands the rules of the road, meaning riding to the right on the road in a single file and coming to a complete stop before crossing (and then walking the bicycle across the crosswalk).
- Teach your child the appropriate hand signals and have them wear bright-colored clothing.
If your child is a victim of a pedestrian or bicycle accident while traveling to or from school, our experienced Ohio pedestrian accident attorneys can help you determine the best legal strategy.