Tips help kids who walk to school stay safe from cars

Summer vacation will come to an end in a few weeks, when kids and parents will start walking and biking to school.

The Jacksonville/Morgan County Office of Emergency Management shared some tips on how pedestrians and drivers can prevent people from getting hurt in the process.

No matter how people get to their destination, they should keep in mind to stay free of distractions, said Director of Emergency Management Phil McCarty.

“We spend a lot of time talking about ‘don’t text while driving’ and putting down your phone … but, if you’re the pedestrian and you’re on the phone, similar rules apply,” he said.

Pedestrians should walk on the sidewalk whenever possible to stay off the road, McCarty said. If a sidewalk is not available, pedestrians should walk facing traffic so that they and oncoming cars can see themselves coming.

Bicyclists must follow the flow of traffic and obey the same traffic rules that drivers follow, McCarty said. Bicyclists should also stay as close to the curb as possible. Those who bike at night or in other low visibility settings should have a bike light, McCarty said.

“Cars have their lights on; you should have your lights on too,” he said.

Drivers should give foot and bike commuters a wide berth when traveling and be aware of their location, McCarty said.

“… I think we need to realize that (kids) are going back to school in a couple of weeks, so we need to be prepared,” McCarty said.

McCarty encouraged people to visit the Office of Emergency Management Facebook page, where safety tips will be posted every Friday throughout August.

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