Getting to School Safely

It’s that time of year: summer vacation is over and school has started anew.

An average of 24 school-age children die in school transportation-related traffic crashes each year (11 occupants of school transportation vehicles and 13 pedestrians).

Getting students to and from their buildings safely is the focus of several transportation advocacy efforts.

Mode Shift favors the messages of walking and bicycling to class: it’s healthy for the kids, doesn’t burn fossil fuels and builds neighborhood cohesiveness.

But in today’s world, the reality is that students often live relatively long distances from their schools or would have to cross or traverse busy – and potentially dangerous – roadways to get to school.

We surfed the Internet and found a few good sites to share that have great reminders about safety for school commutes:

Walk and Bike

Non-motorized transportation to school is, of course, our favorite. And for everything about walking and biking to school safely can be found at Safe Routes to Schools.

Mark your calendar for Oct. 3 when the non-profit hosts International Walk to School Day. Learn more at:

Bus Routes

Another nice take on school transportation safety and advocacy is the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s school bus page in their Driving Safety section.

The Sheriff says …

Mode Shift likes the tips put together by the Petoskey News, drawing from Emmet County Sheriff Pete Wallin who discusses riding the bus, driving around schools and the old-fashioned concept of walking to and from class.

Overall, Wallin urges parents to take the lead on safety, reinforcing lessons about crossing streets, avoiding traffic and walking in groups (read the article).

Driving the Issue

Consumer Reports also has several good reminders for drivers as the school year begins.

“Stop for buses that are loading or unloading children,” is the big one, but the list includes slowing down in school zones, being especially alert in the hours immediately before and after school in case kids are walking or riding bikes near roads.

Those are good lessons for all of us.


Do you have any pet peeves or tips for drivers when it comes to school year commuting? Share them in the comments below.


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