Despite their health benefits, there are dangers involved with walking and cycling, especially for younger children. To help make walking and biking safer for all Americans, Secretary Foxx launched the Safer People, Safer Streets initiative on September 10, 2014. This initiative sets out to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety.
Drivers are urged to keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe by obeying posted speed limits and other driving laws, especially in school and construction zones. It is also advised to avoid impaired or distracted driving and to always keep a look out for pedestrians and cyclists while operating a motor vehicle.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has provided several key safety tips to help pedestrians and cyclists stay safe when walking or riding a bicycle:
Driving Safety Tips
- Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times. Safety is a shared responsibility.
- Use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions, such as nighttime or in bad weather.
- Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.
- Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing that you can’t see.
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Follow the speed limit, especially around people on the street.
- Follow slower speed limits in school zones and in neighborhoods where there are children present.
- Be extra cautious when backing up – pedestrians can move into your path.
Walking Safety Tips
- Pedestrians 10 years old and younger should be accompanied by an adult or young adult on their way to and from school.
- Walk on the sidewalk, but if there is none, walk as far left as possible facing traffic.
- Do not push or shove others when you walk.
- When crossing the street, look left-right-left for cars, and keep looking as you cross.
- Use a crosswalk if available, and do not cross if a car is coming.
Biking Safety Tips
- When bicycling to and from school, your two best protections are a properly fitted bicycle helmet, and a good grasp of traffic safety rules.
- Always wear a helmet and make sure to buckle the chin strap.
- Ride on streets with low traffic volume and lower speeds.
- Always ride in the same direction as traffic, and obey all stop signs and signals.
- Never use headphones or cell phones while riding.