Nevada Department of Transportation offers back-to-school walking, bicycling tips | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada Department of Transportation offers back-to-school walking, bicycling tips

Nevada Department of Transportation

As school children across the region prepare to go back to school, the Nevada Department of Transportation is providing tips to safely bicycle and walk to school.

There were approximately 80 pedestrian fatalities and eight bicyclist fatalities on Nevada roads last year. We hope all drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists will share the road to help our communities safely travel back to school.

Tips for bicyclists and pedestrians

Families of students getting to school by bicycle or by foot should conduct a test trip between home and school before the school year begins. Access, facilities and other roadway conditions can change over the summer, even on previously familiar routes. Familiarize yourself with distance, travel time, safe crossing areas, available bicycle facilities, bicycle parking and more. Use this test trip as an opportunity to remind children of proper traffic safety practices.

Reflective and bright-colored clothing and gear makes a child more visible to drivers of motor vehicles. Plan now to enhance student school gear by placing reflective material on a child’s school backpack or other items that they will routinely wear or carry on their trip to school.

Bicyclists and pedestrians should ride and walk predictably and make sure drivers are aware of their presence before attempting to cross the roadway.

Tips for drivers

Schools often have specific dropoff procedures. Familiarize yourself with dropoff and pickup locations, procedures and school crossing zones for your family’s school.

Drivers should watch for children walking and bicycling to school and be mindful of school zone speed reductions, as well as varying school start times.

Per state law, vehicles cannot make u-turns or pass other vehicles, even on multi-lane roadways, when in an active school zone or school crossing zone.

Per state law, drivers cannot stop, stand or park a vehicle on or within 20 feet of a crosswalk to enable better visibility of persons crossing.

Per state law, all drivers must follow the direction of a school crossing guard and not proceed until the highway is clear of all persons, including the crossing guard.

Due to the numerous activities and functions that might utilize school facilities, drivers should be aware that children may be encountered at varying hours throughout the day and evenings near these locations.

Biking/Walking to School for Health and for the Environment

Many trips between school and home can easily be made by foot or bicycle. Personal vehicles account for roughly half of school trips between a quarter- and half-mile — a distance easily covered on foot or bike.

Approximately 55 percent of children in the U.S. take the bus to school, and $21.5 billion is spent nationally each year on school bus transportation, an average of $854 per child transported per year.

One study found that after walking for 20 minutes, children responded to test questions with greater accuracy than children who had been sitting. Children also completed learning tasks faster and more accurately following physical activity.

Nevada Kids Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Booklets can be found at http://www.nevadadot.com/mobility/bicycle/education-for-kids.