Drivers: Use extra caution around busy schools
Fewer buses may mean increased traffic

e-Connections Post Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety Tips for Students

The return of students to SCUSD campuses means the return of heavy morning and afternoon traffic around busy urban campuses.

To protect children during these heavy commute times, SCUSD and Sacramento Police Department are cautioning drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to obey traffic laws and follow common-sense safety guidelines around campuses.

Distracted driving – texting or talking on the phone – is especially dangerous around schools, where hundreds of students may be on foot. Drivers who engage in this illegal activity will be ticketed if caught. Double-parking, parking along red curbs and stopping in a traffic lane are also illegal and drivers will be cited.

Traffic safety is especially important this fall, as the state’s underfunding of schools forced SCUSD to discontinue most home-to-school transportation for 2012-13. Only Special Education students, children who attend a school through the Program Improvement Choice initiative and children who face serious safety risks getting school – such as railroad tracks – will be provided service.

That may mean more traffic around already congested campuses in the morning and afternoon.

“Pedestrians, cyclists and drivers need to remain alert to the movements of others during periods of high traffic, says SCUSD’s Safe Schools Office Manager Tracey Lopez.

In the fall, the rising sun can blind drivers heading east in the morning. “Kids on foot should never assume that a driver sees them,” Lopez said. “Make eye contact,” she says. “Unlike rural school districts, many of our schools are located on very busy thoroughfares. Everyone needs to be extra careful.”

Tips for kids who bike or walk to school include:
• Always cross the street at a crosswalk, preferable at an intersection controlled by a traffic signal or stop sign.
• Look both ways while crossing. Walk, don’t run.
• When biking, design your route around streets with clearly delineated bike lanes, when possible.
• Always wear at bike helmet.
• Bike with traffic; walk against traffic.

Find more tips at www.scusd.edu.