International Walk and Bike Our Children to School Day occurs on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009. If your child(ren)’s school is participating, help out. If they’re not, there’s still time to suggest it for this or next year. Parent leadership is crucial to a meaningful event and lasting change in attitudes and infrastructure. Walking or biking to school is great exercise and good for community-building.
How many schools are participating in Miami-Dade County is unclear. By official count from the useful website www.walktoschool-usa.org/, there are at least a dozen. Expect more children on the streets that day and travel with extra caution. Observations of the day can take many forms. I corresponded with one mom who was concerned that her children’s school had no slow zone. She opined that that was because it was private. Not so, I reassured her, pointing out many private schools with slow zones. Advocating for a slow zone or crosswalks around your child’s school is a great project to kick off the day.
All parents, guardians and teachers should take the time to impart these safety tips from SafeKids Worldwide:
Teach children the following pedestrian safety rules:
- Do not cross the street alone if you’re younger than age 10.
- Never play in the road.
- Always try to walk on paths or sidewalks. If there are no sidewalks or paths, walk facing road traffic.
- Look both ways for danger before and while crossing the street.
- Walk, do not run, into the street.
- Dress in bright colors or wear retroreflective materials so drivers can easily see you.
Teach children the following bicycle and motorbike safety rules:
- Wear a bicycle or motorcycle helmet on every ride. Look inside the helmet for a safety certification.
- Ride so drivers and cyclists can see you.
- Look both ways for oncoming vehicles before turning or crossing a street. Go only when it is clear.
- Watch out for potholes, cracks, rocks, wet leaves, storm grates, railroad tracks or anything that could make you lose control of your bike.
- Make sure your bike fits your height, weight and age.
- Inflate tires properly.
- Check your brakes and chain before riding.
- Bikers should ride behind one another and with the flow of traffic.
–Dina Weinstein | 786-246-0644