Back to school! Words parents love to hear; words kids hate to hear. As the beginning of a school year approaches, the Petaluma Police Department would like to remind parents of a few important tips on getting your children to and from school safely.
If your child will be riding his or her bicycle to school, going over these simple tips will help ensure a safe arrival at school and a safe return home.
- Always wear a helmet. California law requires juveniles up to the age of 18 to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
- Always stop for a red light or stop sign. Bicycle riders have to obey the same signs that cars do.
- Always use the proper hand signals when making a turn.
- At busy street corners, get off and walk your bike across the street.
- Always ride single file except to pass.
Many children walk to school. In Petaluma, at busy intersections near schools, crossing guards may be available to assist your children in crossing the street. Here are a few tips for kids to remember when crossing guards are not present.
- Cross at crosswalks. Keep to the right in the crosswalk.
- Before crossing, look in every direction.
- At crosswalks with signals, cross only on the proper "Walk" signal. This signal may be different at each intersection. Make sure your children know all the different symbols and what they stand for.
- Avoid crossing between parked cars.
- Watch for turning cars at intersections.
It's every parent's nightmare. Child abduction is a tragedy that devastates parents and touches all of us. These tips will help you keep your children safe if they are walking or biking to and from school without an adult.
- DONT TALK TO STRANGERS! It may seem obvious, but you can never stress this point enough to your children.
- Safety in numbers. Whenever possible, make sure your child travels with a group of children.
- Tell your child not to accept rides from people with whom you haven't made prior arrangements, even if they say they are police officers, teachers, or friends of the family.
- Establish a family code word. Tell your child never to go anywhere with anyone who does not know the code word.
- Always come straight home from school unless you've made other arrangements.
Reprinted from an ad posted in the Sonoma County Independent (Oct '99)
There are many things you can do to stay safe.
by Lieutenant Ed Crosby