Summer is officially over. The weather has cooled and the kids are back to school this month. Drivers who enjoyed less traffic in the summer mornings now have to be wary of the added traffic of parents and buses bringing kids to school, but they shouldn't overlook the school children who are walking or biking. Bicyclists and pedestrians are hard to see as it is, but children are even harder to spot - meaning drivers must pay extra attention around schools and bus stops.
The accident risk in school zones
According to research by the National Safety Council, 4-to-7-year-olds are the most common victims in deadly bus-related pedestrian incidents when they're walking. This happens either when they are hit by the bus, or by a car due to a motorist's illegally passing a stopped bus. To minimize the risk of an accident, follow these tips:
- Don't block crosswalks or force pedestrians to go around you. This might put them in the path of oncoming traffic.
- Always stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection when flashers are blinking in a school zone.
- Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard with a raised stop sign.
- Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas.
- Don't honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way.
- Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
- Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way.
Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers, but they are harder to see. Children riding bikes create a unique problem for drivers because their inexperience usually means they are not able to judge traffic conditions accurately.
The most common cause of collisions is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist. When near a child on a bicycle, be sure to give them plenty of space when passing and let them turn safely at intersections. Also, check your mirrors for them before opening the car door.
Teens who drive to school should be especially careful. Their inexperience may delay their reaction to sudden road hazards, including children in the road. To help promote safe driving among Maine teenagers, the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein is pleased to announce the continuation of its high school scholarship program through our annual Arrive Alive Creative Contest. The contest is open to graduating high school seniors in Maine who wish to send a message to their peers about the dangers of drinking and driving and the dangers of distracted driving. Share with a graduating teen you know.
And If you or a loved one was injured in a crash, contact our law firm today. Our attorneys know the Maine law and have the experience and expertise to handle even the most complex claims. In over 45 years, the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein has helped more than 25,000 injured or disabled Mainers get the justice they deserve.