GCPD Back-to-school safety: pedestrians and bicycles
This is the third part of a four-part series of articles from the Garden City Police Department on back-to-school safety issues. In the previous two newspaper articles, we have covered safe driving practices and school bus safety. If you missed any of these items, you can stop by the Garden City Police Department and pick up a copy. This week’s article will focus on pedestrian / bicycle safety. Parents, grandparents, guardians, and teachers are encouraged to use this article to help teach their children about pedestrian / bicycle safety.
- Children should not walk while talking on the phone or texting.
- Pedestrians should always use sidewalks when available and walk on the inside edge of the sidewalk that is furthest from traffic. If a sidewalk is not available, pedestrians are encouraged to walk in single file as close to the edge of the road as possible. You should also walk against the flow of traffic so that oncoming cars are visible.
- As mentioned in Part 2 of this series, research has shown that until your child is at least 8 years old, you should hold their hand on sidewalks and in parking lots. Also, until they are 10 years old, you have to hold their hand when crossing the street.
- Teach your kids to be defensive and NEVER assume a driver sees them.
- Avoid crossing streets mid-block, especially when parked cars can obstruct motorists’ vision. Cross at stop signs, traffic lights, crosswalks and crossing guards when available.
- When crossing a street, NEVER assume that a green light or an ON signal means it is safe to cross the street. Remember; LOOK LEFT, then RIGHT, then LEFT again before crossing.
- Take off the headphones when preparing to cross the street. You will not be able to hear oncoming traffic.
- Do not follow others across the street until you have verified for yourself that it is safe to cross.
- Walk to school with your child and discuss safe practices. Teach your kids the rules of the road and encourage them to ask questions when they don’t know what to do.
- Crossing guards are near schools to help children and others cross the street safely. It is a violation of New York State law to disregard the signals and directions of crossing guards.
- Teach your children to obey the instructions given to them by the crossing guards. This includes crossings only when directed, do not run or cycle through the crossings.
- Cyclists are subject to the same laws as motorists.
- All cyclists under the age of 14 are required to wear approved bicycle helmets when riding or riding bicycles. Parents should set a good example and wear a helmet.
- Regardless of what the law requires, the Garden City Police Department recommends that ALL drivers and passengers wear bicycle helmets. According to a 2020 report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 62% of cyclists killed in crashes were documented because wearing a bicycle helmet was unknown in 23% of fatalities.
- Teach your kids to ride bikes and ride in a safe place where there are no cars. It is important that children learn to point, turn, slow down and stop without falling. Hand signals for cyclists are the same as for motorists.
- Teach your kids to be defensive when driving and NEVER assume a driver sees them.
- Cyclists should look carefully in all directions for vehicles, other cyclists and pedestrians and be careful when approaching intersections or alleys where vehicles may turn.
- Children must cross intersections with their bikes.
- Bicycles should travel on cycle lanes when available or as close to the right edge of the road as possible in the same direction as traffic.
- Cycle single file only.
- NEVER use a bicycle to transport more people than it was designed to carry. Never ride anyone on the handlebars.
- When riding a bike, wear brightly colored clothing and make sure the bike is fitted with proper reflectors.
- Cyclists may not be able to hear or see approaching traffic when wearing headphones, talking on the phone, or texting. It is illegal to wear more than one headset while cycling.
A bicycle must be equipped with:
- Brakes capable of causing the tires to skid on dry, level pavement.
- A bell, horn or other device that can be heard at least one hundred feet away; sirens and whistles are NOT allowed.
- Bikes driven between half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise must be fitted with a white front headlight visible in the dark for at least 500 feet and a visible red tail light for at least 300 feet.
- A bicycle, when purchased new and / or driven overnight, should have reflective tires or wide-angle spoke-mounted reflectors. The reflectors must be colorless or amber for the front wheels and colorless or red for the rear wheels.
The Garden City Police Department encourages residents to incorporate these safe practices into their lives to make this school year a safe one. Don’t forget to read the fourth part of the “Back to School” series, “Stranger Danger”, next week.