Two weeks ago, bicycle officers from the Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) participated in the annual Lakeridge Elementary third grade Bike Rodeo, teaching bike safety, assisting with a bike skills course and properly fitting bike helmets.
After completing the rodeo, children can ride their bikes to school with parental approval. On Oct. 4, MIPD bike officers were at all four elementary schools, emphasizing pedestrian and bike safety and “Sharing the Road” principles.
With school back in session and fewer daylight hours, it’s a good time for drivers to exhibit extra caution around children bicycling and walking through neighborhoods.
The MIPD reminds all drivers to follow these tips:
– Allow extra time for increased school zone traffic, and school bus congestion, and remember that children may dart out from stopped school buses. Passing a school bus that has its lights flashing and stop arm out can lead to a $394 fine, and is noted on your driving record.
– When you approach a crosswalk, always give the right-of-way to the pedestrian. If you’re making a turn, scan the road closely before turning. Any intersection, whether marked or unmarked, is technically a crosswalk.
– Poor weather and wet road conditions add to your vehicle’s stopping distance.
– Leave your smartphone alone: this applies to drivers (since the passage of the new distracted driver law) but is also a good idea for pedestrians too.
It’s also good time for parents to make sure children understand how to ride safely and predictably, and how to stay visible.
For more information, see www.mercergov.org/files/How_Children_See_Traffic.pdf.