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Back To School: Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety in South Florida

It’s that time of year again: when children pack up backpacks and lunch boxes and head back to the classroom. With this time of year come serious risks for pedestrian and bicycling accidents. There are millions of students who use their own two feet (or their own two wheels) to get to and from school — or the bus stop.

Unfortunately, this is also a time when we see an increase in the number of traffic accident fatalities among young children.

Our Broward injury attorneys understand that there are more than 60 children under the age of 19 who are injured as pedestrians in the U.S. each and every day. That’s close to 426,000 in the last 15 years. In 2010 alone, there were more than 500 pedestrians killed. Since 1995, there have been more than 11,000 child pedestrians killed after being hit by a motor vehicle.

It’s important that parents take a proactive role in helping to protect children on their ventures to and from school. Make sure that you talk frequently about walking and biking safety with your young travelers. Before the first day of school, make sure you locate the safest route for your child to take. Make sure you practice this route a number of times before letting them make the trip on their own. And it’s also important to make sure that you review the following safety tips with them. Get other parents on board with these safe traveling habits, too.

Walking to School:

-Always obey traffic signals and markings.

-Never walk into the street from between parked vehicles, behind bushes or shrubs.

-Make sure that you look in all directions for oncoming traffic before entering the road.

-Cross the street at a corner or crosswalk and walk, don’t run, across intersections.

-Take off headphones before crossing the street.

-If you have to use your cell phone, stop walking before doing so.

-Always use a sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk available, walk facing oncoming traffic and keep as far to the left as possible.

Riding Bicycles to School:

-Follow all rules of the road.

-Ride on the right side of the road, in the same direction as traffic.

-Always use the appropriate hand signals before turning.

-Stop at all intersections and walk your bike across the road when permitted.

-Look left and right before attempting to cross the road.

-Avoid riding when it’s dark outside. The risk of injury during nighttime is four times greater than during the daytime.

All drivers need to recognize the safety needs of pedestrians, especially children. Young, elderly, disabled and intoxicated pedestrians are the most frequent victims in auto-pedestrian collisions. Generally, pedestrians have the right-of-way at all intersections; however, regardless of the rules of the road or right-of-way, you as a driver are obligated to exercise great care and extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians.

If you or someone in your family has been injured or killed in an accident, contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp, & Gonzalez at 1-800-561-7777 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

South Florida at High Risk of Child Heat Stroke Deaths, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, July 21, 2013

Child Pedestrians Safety a Spring Focus in South Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, April 25, 2013

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