To help your child determine the best route possible for walking to school, download the Champaign-Urbana Safe Routes To School Project (C-U SRTS PROJECT) Safe Walking Route to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (pdf) maps.
Safety Tips for Walkers
Prepared by the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission
- Always walk on sidewalks or paths separated from vehicular traffic. If there are no sidewalks or paths, always walk on the side of the street FACING road traffic, as far to the left as possible.
- Dress to be seen. Wear bright-colored clothes so drivers can easily see you. At night, wear retroreflective materials on your shoes, cap, or jacket to reflect the headlights of cars coming towards you. If it is dark or hard to see, you may also carry a flashlight.
- Obey all adult crossing guards.
- Obey all signs, signals, and traffic lights.
- Always look for vehicles backing up when crossing driveways, and look for traffic at every driveway and intersection.
- Walk with a friend when possible.
- When you are near the street, don’t push, shove, or chase other walkers.
- If any bullying happens during your walk, talk to your parents and teacher.
- Ask your parents or caregivers to help you use the Safe Walking Route Maps to pick a safe route to school – one that avoids dangers. Stick to the route you picked with your parents. Don’t let friends talk you into shortcuts that are more dangerous.
- When determining your safe walking route to school, limit the number of street crossings, and avoid crossing busy or high-speed streets.
- Parents/caregivers should walk with younger children or children walking to a new school to make sure they know the route and can walk it safely.
- Parents/caregivers should use their child’s pedestrian skills and experience to determine when their child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision, not a set age. It takes time and practice for children to accurately judge the speed, distance, and size of oncoming vehicles.
Tips for crossing the street safely:
- Cross only at corners or marked crosswalks. Never cross in the middle of the road unsupervised.
- When available, cross at a location with an adult crossing guard. Otherwise, cross the street with an adult whenever possible.
- If a car is parked where you are crossing, look for a driver in the car – they may be getting ready to move. If there is not a driver in the car, go to the edge of the car, look left-right-left, and only cross the street when no cars are coming.
- If no cars are parked where you are crossing, stop at the curb, or the edge of the road. Look left, right, and left again, before you step into the street. Also look behind and in front of you for traffic.
- Wait until no traffic is coming, and begin crossing.
- Always walk when crossing the street – never run! You could trip and fall when running.
- Keep looking for traffic and make eye contact with drivers until you have finished crossing.
When crossing the street at a signalized intersection:
- Stop at the curb or edge of the road.
- If a pedestrian pushbutton exists, push it to activate the “WALK” signal.
- If the “WALK” signal is lit, look left-right-left for traffic before crossing the street. Also look behind and in front of you for turning vehicles.
- If the “DON’T WALK” signal is flashing, wait for the next new “WALK” signal. It will give you the most time to cross the street.
- If you are in the middle of the street, and the “DON’T WALK” signal begins to flash, don’t stop or return to the curb or edge of the road. Continue to walk at your maximum comfortable pace until you reach the other side.Walk, don’t run – you could fall if you run.
Bicycle Safety Tips
- Always wear a correctly fitted bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride. It should be snug and level on the head.
- Find a safe place to ride — younger children (especially under age 10) should ride on the sidewalk.
- Follow the rules of the road when riding your bike in the street.
- Stay on the right side when riding your bike in the street, in a straight, single-file line, in the same direction as auto traffic.
- Use appropriate hand signals when riding in the street.
- Obey all signs and traffic lights.
- Stay off busy streets.
- When crossing the street, look left, then right, then left again, making eye contact with drivers.
- If you approach a busy street, get off your bike when you get to the curb, look left, right, and left again, make eye contact with drivers, and walk your bike across the street.
- Always watch for vehicles when crossing driveways or alleys.
- Never carry riders on your bike.
- Never ride between cars.
- Give pedestrians the right-of-way.
- Stay alert for unexpected obstacles.
- Make sure your bike has a headlight if you are riding in the street at night.
- Always make sure your bike is in good repair.
- Make sure you have no clothing or laces hanging down that can catch in the spokes.
- Wear bright-colored clothing to increase your visibility.