Walking to School
In accordance with Washington State Law, suggested walk paths are developed for each elementary school that has students who walk to and from school. Routes are based on traffic patterns, existing traffic controls, and other safety precautions such as school patrols. Suggested walk paths limit the number of street crossings so students are more likely to cross a street in groups.
If your child walks to school, walk the route together ahead of time. Point out landmarks on the way. Teach them to wait for traffic lights and the crossing guard, walk rather than run, and cross in crosswalks. If your child rides the bus, talk about crossing in front of the bus only after the driver tells them it is OK. It is important to teach and practice safe pedestrian skills with our children as well as provide responsible adult supervision as they travel to and from school. To encourage safety and improve your trip to and from school please follow these recommendations.
- Your school's regulations for walking to and from school
- The safest place to cross the street
- What the traffic lights mean
- Who the safety patrol/crossing guards are and what they do to help children
- Where to walk if there is no sidewalk
- The best route to school
- Not to ride with or talk to strangers
- Not to walk between parked cars or buses
- Encourage your child to walk in groups
- Organize responsible adults to accompany the children as they walk to and from school.
- Be safe! Be seen! Brightly colored clothing makes it easier for drivers to see you during the daytime. But at night, you need to have a flashlight or wear special reflective material on your shoes, cap, or jacket that bounces the car's lights off you and back to the driver.
- Walk on the sidewalk or a walking path. When there is no sidewalk and you have to walk on the road, be sure to walk facing traffic.
- Always walk when crossing, the street, never run across the street to catch a ball or chase a toy, a friend, or a pet.
- Darting out in front of a parked car is dangerous. The driver of the car coming down the street can't see you.
- Cross at corners and use crosswalks whenever possible; always stay within the lines of the crosswalk.
- Use intersections with signals and pedestrian buttons whenever possible.
- Never go for a walk with a stranger. Only walk with someone who your parents say is okay.
- Know what the different signs and signals mean and always follow them.
- Be careful around parked cars; stop, look left, look right, and look left again before stepping out from between parked cars.
- Stop at the curb or the edge of the road (if there is no curb) before you cross
- Stop and look left, then right, then left again, turning your head to see over your shoulder for moving cars, before you step into the street.
- Listen for the sound of car motors, car doors, sirens, and horns before you step into the street.
- If you see a car, wait until it goes by. Then look left, right, left again until no cars are coming. Be aware that cars may not stop even if you have the right-of-way.
- If a car is parked where you are crossing, look to make sure there is no driver and that the car is not running. Not to walk between parked cars or buses.
- Then go to the edge of the car and look left-right-left to see if cars are coming.
- When no cars are coming, WALK - do not run - across the road. Keep looking for cars while you are crossing
When parents are reluctant to allow their children to walk to school, safety is one of the most common reasons given. Providing adult supervision can help address safety concerns for families who live within walking distance to school, and a Walking School Bus program seeks to do just that along with a healthy dose of fun.