Back to School Safety Tips for Drivers

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Photo credit: Cathy Lo Davis

Driving Safety Tips from the National Safety Council:

Sharing the Road with Young Pedestrians

According to research by the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old, and they’re walking. They are hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus. A few precautions go a long way toward keeping children safe:

Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic

In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection

Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign

Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas

Don’t honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way
Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians

Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way

Sharing the Road with School Buses

If you’re driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.

Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children

If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop

The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus

Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks

Sharing the Road with Bicyclists

On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, but bikes can be hard to see. Children riding bikes create special problems for drivers because usually they are not able to properly determine traffic conditions. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.

When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist

When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass

If you’re turning right and a bicyclists is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals

Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this

Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods

Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars

Check side mirrors before opening your door
By exercising a little extra care and caution, drivers and pedestrians can co-exist safely in school zones.

 

Take a Walk With Decatur Active Living

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Third Sunday Stroll
This month’s stroll will be on Sunday, March 19 at 2pm. Meet in front of the Decatur Recreation Center for a stroll through downtown with members of the Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

 

Fourth Thursday Bright at Night Walk
Discover Decatur at night with a walk through the City. Walkers receive a free light to wear and keep to “Be Safe and Be Seen”. Meet in front of Decatur Recreation Center at 7:30 pm.

50+ Walks
Join Sara, our Adult Program Supervisor, for thees weekly walks. Meet in front of the Decatur Recreation Center at 10 am. Walks average 3 miles and travel through various parts of the City.

Walk With a Doc
These walks have moved to the second Saturday of the month and leave the Decatur Recreation Center at 10 am. Next walk is April 8.

For more information on walking in Decatur, visit http://www.decaturga.com/walking.

Decatur Has Record Participation for International Walk & Roll to School Day!

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The City of Decatur Schools take part in International Walk & Roll Day each year and 2016 saw the highest number of students participating since the program began. A total of 2357 children walked or biked to school on Wednesday, October 5. This number is up from the 1893 that participated in 2015. Mayor Patti Garrett also participated and walked a group of children from the Decatur Housing Authority to Glennwood School.

Westchester Elementary had the highest participation with 84% of students walking to school and will receive the City’s “Golden Shoe Award”.  According to school Principal Ms. Lofstrand, “the car pool was reduced to a trickle.”  There was at least one story of a family that had been reluctant to walk before but came out today for the first time, because the children were so enthused.

Decatur has had an active Safe Routes to School Program since 2005. The program has won the Golden Shoe Award from PEDS for Pedestrian Friendly School System and three schools have been named Metro Atlanta Partner of Year by the GA Safe Routes to School Resource Center. Initially the program was coordinated by volunteer parent committees at each school. Beginning with the 2008 -2009 school year, the Decatur Active Living Division took on the management and development of Decatur’s program.

The success of the program still depends on the fabulous parents at each school who volunteer to be School Champions along with their school committees and the Principals at each school who not only support the program but understand the value of children walking and biking to school. The city and parents also work closely with the Georgia Safe Routes to School Resource Center.

Currently the City’s program includes all 5 elementary schools, Renfroe Middle School, College Heights and Saint Thomas More Catholic School. We are very proud the great work the parents and schools do to promote walking and biking every day.

For more information on Decatur’s Safe Routes to School Program, contact Cheryl.Burnette@decaturga.com or visit www.decaturga.com/srts.

 

Congratulations to Jessie Hadley, SRTS Champion of the Year!

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Congratulations to Jessie Hadley, Safe Routes to School Champion of the Year for the metro area!

Jessie took over as Parent Champion at Winnona Park Elementary in Decatur for the 2014-2015 school year.  Mrs. Hadley immediately went to work to increase the numbers of walkers and bikers at the school. Jessie has a lot of energy and for International Walk & Roll day in 2013, 50% of the students participated and that number increased in 2014 to 56%.

The school holds special Walk & Roll Days the first Wednesday of each month, and the numbers remain consistent and even increase during the nice Spring weather. They also participate in Bike to School Day.

Jessie has used various ideas and methods to increase student’s participation. She created a special sign that they display the day before their Walk & Roll Days to remind both parents and students.

On walk days, the students all earn a marble upon arrival at school that is put into a special “Marble counter.” On GA Walk & Roll day this past March, the marble counter was overflowing so she had to add a bucket to collect the rest of the marbles! The school had the highest participation in Decatur for this special day and was awarded  our special “Golden Shoe Award” which was presented at a student community circle time.

Jessie has also recruited several parent volunteers to assist with the Walk & Roll Days.  Not only do the students receive the marbles and other incentives such as stickers, etc. but the parents are offered coffee and they love hanging out and visiting with each other.

Jessie has created a great feeing of community around Walk & Roll to School!

Congratulations to Jessie for a job well done!

Need a ride? Take our Transportation Survey

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Community members are invited to participate in a survey on current and future transportation options. An important component of a great community is the equitable ability to easily get from one place to another, within and outside its boundaries.

This survey will gather information from City of Decatur residents regarding the transportation options currently used, and help us plan for future equitable and inclusive options.

The Lifelong Community Advisory Board looks forward to receiving suggestions on options you would like to have in the future. Help make Decatur a place for a lifetime – for people of all ages and abilities.

To complete the survey online go to surveymonkey.com/r/decaturtransportation. Or contact Lee Ann Harvey, 678-553-6548, leeann.harvey@decaturga.com, if you would like to have a hard copy sent to you.

Also found on the Decatur Minute Blog.

http://thedecaturminute.com/2016/02/04/decatur-transportation-survey/

Walking School Bus at Oakhurst

The children at Oakhurst Elementary really know how to do a walking school bus!! As you may know, Oakhurst was also the GA Safe Routes to School Resource Center Partner of the Year for the Metro area in 2015. 60% of the students walk or bike to school every day. We are proud of all of our schools in Decatur for encouraging children to walk and bike and keeping them safe. 
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