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State Senator Lisa M. Boscola - Your Voice in Harrisburg

BACK TO SCHOOL: Stay Safe on the Road -  Some tips & reminders for the start of school!

Back to SchoolThe end of summer vacation has come too quickly here in the Lehigh Valley! With summer vacations wrapping up and traffic increasing as people go back to work and back to school, different driving patterns and rules of the road are on the horizon. With school starting the next 2 weeks in the Lehigh Valley, I thought about going over some safety issues related to school was appropriate.  Whether you're walking to school or driving in a school zone, the following tips serve as a reminder to be responsible and keep our kids safe.

Some of the tips are for you the adult (parent) - some of the tips are for you to go over with your children.

Sharing the Road with School Buses

School buses are one of the safest forms of transportation on the road today.

In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, riding a bus to school is 13 times safer than riding in a passenger vehicle and 10 times safer than walking to school. That’s because school buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road; they’re designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in preventing crashes and injuries; and in every State, stop-arm laws protect children from other motorists.

The reality of school bus safety is that more children are hurt outside the bus than inside as passengers. 

Most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related crashes are pedestrians, 4 to 7 years old, who are hit by the bus or by motorists illegally passing a stopped school bus

For this reason, it is necessary to know the proper laws and procedures for sharing the road safely with school buses:

  • BusAll 50 states have a law making it illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.

  • School buses use yellow flashing lights to alert motorists that they are preparing to stop to load or unload children.

  • Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm signals to motorists that the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off the bus.

  • Traffic in both directions stop on undivided roadways when students are entering or exiting a school bus.

  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is where children are in the most danger of being hit. Stop your car far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to safely enter and exit the bus.

  • Be alert. Children are unpredictable. Children walking to or from their bus are usually very comfortable with their surroundings. This makes them more likely to take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when crossing the street.

  • NEVER pass a school bus on the right. It is illegal and could have tragic consequences.

Walking to School

  • studentsWalk to school in a group and if possible have a responsible adult with you.

  • Always walk on the sidewalk if one is available.

  • If no sidewalk is available, walk facing the traffic.

  • The safest place to cross is at a street corner or intersection. Do not cross mid-block.

  • Children 10-years-old or younger should to cross the street with an adult. They should not cross by themselves.

  • Before stepping off the curb to cross the street, stop and look all ways to see if cars are coming.

  • When no cars are coming, it is safe to cross. Look left-right-left while crossing. Hold an adult's hand.

  • Walk, don't run. This gives drivers time to see you before you enter the roadway. Running also makes it more likely to fall in the street.

  • Don't enter the road from in front of, or between parked cars. The driver of the car coming down the street will not be able to see you.

Riding a Bicycle to School

  • BikesAlways wear your helmet when riding a bicycle.

  • Make sure that the helmet fits correctly. The helmet should fit low on your forehead so that two fingers fit between it and your eyebrows. Another way to check is to put the helmet on your head and look up. If you can't see your helmet, it is too far back.

  • To ride safely, know the rules of the road. If you don't, then you should not ride in traffic.
  • Ride on the right side of the road or trail in a single file line in the same direction as other vehicles and come to a complete stop before crossing streets.

  • Wait for a driver's signal before crossing the street.

  • When riding a bicycle, wear bright colors during the day and right before the sun rises or sets.

  • Riding at night can be dangerous. Equipment for night riding should include a white light on the front of your bicycle and a red reflector on the back. You also can purchase lights and reflective materials to put on your shoes, helmet and clothing.

  • Practice makes for more skilled bicycle riding. The more skilled you are at riding, the less likely you will be to crash. Practice riding skills in an empty parking lot or a place with no traffic. Practice such things as riding in a straight line, looking over your shoulder, signaling with your hands and starting and stopping.

Riding the Bus to School

  • KidsWhen the bus arrives, stand at least three steps or preferably six feet away from the curb.

  • If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road until you are five steps or ten feet ahead of the bus. Then you can cross the street.

  • Be sure the bus driver can see you and you can see the bus driver.

  • Never walk behind the bus.

  • If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up first because the driver may not be able to see you.

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Offices of State Senator Lisa M. Boscola

One East Broad Street
Suite 120
Bethlehem, PA 18018
(610) 868-8667
Fax: (610) 861-2184
Toll-free: 1-877-535-1818
West Catasauqua Prof.
Office Building
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Whitehall, PA 18052
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Fax: (610) 266-2169
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Easton, PA 18042
(610) 250-5627
(610) 250-5629
Fax: (610) 250-1889
458 Main Capitol Building
Senate Box 203018
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3018
(717) 787-4236
Fax: (717) 783-1257
Senate of PA:
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