As parents, we have an especially crucial obligation to teach our kids to walk safely. Walking in the city presents many challenges that parents in more rural or suburban communities don't have to deal with. There are many NYC-centric problems pedestrians and drivers face. From one-way streets to bike lanes, stop and go buses and speeding taxis – the bustle of the city traffic can make for complicated walking.
SET A GOOD EXAMPLE!
- Kids will take rules seriously if their parents do. Parents are busy, and can be in a rush to get somewhere with their kids. Resist the temptation to do what you are trying to teach your kids not to do, such as cross against the light or cross mid-street.
- Make sure that your kids model good behavior for other kid. Furthermore, If kids stop at lights, friends should not be allowed to tease the one playing it safe.
TEACH KIDS BASIC PEDESTRIAN RESPONSIBILITIES
- Keep distractions to a minimum. This includes talking on the phone or listening to music as it makes you much likely to hear vehicles coming or people warning you of danger. And texting and walking? Inefficient and dangerous.
- Don't assume a driver sees you.
SHOW KIDS WHERE TO WALK
- Always walk on the sidewalk, never the street. (If you must walk in the street, walk against traffic)
- Do not walk between parked cars. Parked cars hide you from drivers and could move and hit you.
EXPLAIN STOPPING SAFELY
- Stop at the curb, not two steps into the road to look around parked cars.
- Wait for the walk, pausing before you go since some drivers try to make the "orange."
- Don't lead with the stroller, putting your child in danger by pushing the stroller into the crosswalk to see if it's safe to cross.
- Scooters can be difficult to stop, especially with the incline at most intersections. Train them to stop before reaching to the corner or don't let them ride ahead if they can't do this.
- Do not let kids hold or play balls or "escape" toys while they walk. It's second nature to dart after these things if it gets dropped.
- Cross in the painted crosswalk, not in the middle of the road or between cars.
- Use specified "safe" crosswalks; use them. Safe crossings are marked while unsafe crossings are not marked. If it is too dangerous to cross, find a safer route. (Grand Army Plaza is an example of this.)
- Walk at a medium speed; not too fast or too slow. Kids should keep pace so they cross before the light changes. Do not run across (the risk of a fall goes up).
- Take a step back. Take a deep breath instead of stepping out to cross against the light.
SHOW KIDS HOW TO LOOK!
- Look into the eyes of drivers approaching an intersection as you walk.
- Look all ways, even if you have the walk signal. Bikes and cars "making the orange" are worth looking out for.
- Look all ways at one-way street. Bikes "salmon" and go the wrong way or people could be backing up.
- Pay attention to driveways that cross sidewalks. Cars could be coming out of a back parking lot.
USE A RHYME TO HELP REMEMBER ROAD RULES
- “Stop, look and listen, before you cross the street.
First use your eyes and ears, THEN use your feet.”
MORE INFORMATION, VISIT:
GET INVOLVED: ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED WITH STREET SAFETY:
Transportation Alternatives is NYCs leading transportation advocacy organization, with a citywide network of 100,000 active supporters committed to ensuring that every New Yorker has safe space to walk and bike and access to public transportation.
Streetsblog is a daily news source connecting people to information about sustainable transportation and livable communities.
- A little extra speed makes a big impact: 2 percent of people die when struck by motorists going 20 miles per hour, 20 percent of people die when struck by a motorist going 30 miles per hour, and 70 percent of people die when struck by a motorist going 40 miles per hour. http://www.transalt.org/about/facts#ss
- Young children do not have the developmental skills and life experience to negotiate walking in city traffic. One study showed children under ten can't do the “vector math” that is to take speed into account when judging whether to cross in front of an oncoming car. In other words, if they see a fast and slow car coming toward them, , they think the closer car would hit them first, even if the farther car is coming much faster. http://www.safekids.org
- Being struck by a car is the most common cause of injury-related death among children 1-14 years of age and the second-most common cause among those aged 15 and older. http://www.transalt.org