Pedestrian safety a priority as students return to school this August

Yellow crosswalk sign on a road with a car driving by

We’re all pedestrians at some point. But for students who walk or bike to school, they’re pedestrians every day.

With summer break winding down and students returning to schools across Johnson County, it’s important that both pedestrians and motorists follow the rules of the road – especially around schools.

Students walking or biking to school should always use sidewalks and crosswalks when available. Walking with a parent, guardian or older sibling can help them practice walking safety.

Streets near schools feature additional signs and markings to keep students safe. But they still require pedestrians and motorists to follow them correctly.

Keep in mind these tips for safely navigating crosswalks and school zones, and pay extra attention as school starts back up.

Crosswalk safety tips for pedestrians and motorists

A school crossing sign alerts drivers that students could be present and to proceed with caution.

Crosswalk safety is especially important, since it’s where pedestrians and motorists meet. School crosswalks see a lot of foot traffic during the school day, and they often feature crossing guards trained to stop traffic and help students cross.

Pedestrians and motorists, follow these safety tips when approaching crosswalks:

  • Pedestrians: Look both ways before you cross to make sure it’s safe to cross. As you cross, make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you and stop. If a crossing guard is on duty, wait for their signal to cross.
  • Motorists: Always yield to pedestrians at crosswalks so they can get across safely. If turning, look first to make sure no one is crossing where you’re turning. If a crossing guard tells you to stop, follow their signal.

School zones require motorists to slow down

A school speed limit sign alerts drivers to slow down to the marked speed when students are walking to and from school.

“School zone ahead.” If you see a sign like this, be extra cautious and prepare to slow down. School zones feature lower speed limits to keep students safe as they walk to school.

If lights are flashing as you enter a school zone, this means the school zone speed limit is in effect. Slow down to the posted speed limit, and don’t resume your original speed until you see a sign indicating you’ve left the school zone.

It’s important not just to slow down near schools, but also to limit distractions while driving. Put down your phone and keep your eyes on the road – sending a text takes your eyes off the road for a minimum of five seconds.

Pedestrians and motorists alike, thanks for doing your part to keep students safe as they begin a new school year.

Public Works
Community Safety