Back to School Safety Tips

JPEG - Safe Routes to School Color

The first day of school is fast approaching so it is a good time to review safety rules with your family. The City of Decatur encourages children to walk and bike to school through the Safe Routes to School Program, and we want them to arrive at school safely.

Walk Safely!

  • Children should always walk on the sidewalk or path and cross only at crosswalks or at traffic signals. Obey the crossing guards!
  • Look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
  • It’s a good idea to make eye contact with the driver of a vehicle before crossing.
  • Be careful at driveways where cars may back out and not expect a pedestrian.
  • Put down the cell phone and electronic devices and pay attention!

Bike Safely!

  • Before your child rides his/her bike, be sure to give it a safety check. Is there enough air in the tires? Do both brakes work? Check the saddle, handlebars, pedals, and chain. If you need some repairs and are not able to do them yourself, bring the bike to a bike shop. It is worth the money to keep your children safe.
  • WEAR A HELMET! Head injury is the leading cause of death in cycling accidents. Helmets should fit snuggly and cover the forehead – not more than two fingers width above the eyebrows. Parents – be a good role model and wear your helmet as well.
  • Learn hand signals. Cars cannot guess when a cyclist will be turning or stopping. Review hand signals with your child and teach them what road signs mean
  • Teach your child about road safety when riding a bike. Cyclists should ride with the flow of traffic and not against it. Ride with someone else if possible, and always ride single file. . Bicycles are considered vehicles and must obey the same rules of the road as cars.
  • Light up! All cyclists should have bike lights – a white one of the front and red on the back. Put the back light on flash when riding at any time of day. This will make riders more visible to cars.
  • If riding the sidewalk, make sure your child always yields to pedestrians. Children should be aware that sidewalk riding is actually more dangerous in many situations. Cars are not expecting a bike and riders should be especially cautious when approaching driveways and crosswalks. Bikes should be walked across, not ridden, in crosswalks.

School Bus Safety!

  • Children should stand at least three giant steps back from the bus stop while waiting on the bus.
  • Wait until the bus has come to a complete stop before getting off and never walk behind the bus.
  • If the child needs to cross in front of the bus when exiting, remind them to take five giant steps in front of the bus, make eye contact with the bus driver, and cross when the driver indicates it is safe. Children should look left, right and left again before crossing.
  • For a list of the City Schools of Decatur school bus safety rules, visit

Drive Safely!

  • Drivers should be on high alert in residential areas and school zones and watch for children on both the road and sidewalk.
  • Give pedestrians the right of way and look both ways before turning.
  • Put down your cell phone! It is illegal to text when driving.
  • Follow the speed limit and slow down in a school zone.
  • Stop for school buses with flashing lights! Flashing yellow or red lights indicates the bus is about to stop (yellow), has already stopped (red), or children are getting on or off.

For more information on the Safe Routes to School Program visit Contact for more information on pedestrian and bicycle safety.




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