Back to school commuting tips

It's back to school season. That means more traffic and a longer commute to work. It also means more kids on the road in their parents cars, on foot, bikes, skateboards, etc. going to and from school. Street Smarts solicited back to school commuting tips – for the various transportation modalities and for parents and commuters alike – from Lt. John Hohmann of Scotts Valley police and Chief Rudy Escalante of Capitola police. “Everyone needs to pay attention, be patient, courteous and understanding everyday and with everyone on the road,” said Hohmann. “Our children’s safety is of the utmost importance.” Here's more specific advice from the two law enforcement leaders: For commuters: Allow more time to get to and from work. “Slow down, stay alert and stay off electronic devices, be mindful of the increase of bicyclists and pedestrians, yield to pedestrians in the crosswalks,” Hohmann said. For parents:
  • Leave early, especially the first week but try to keep it going all year long. Give yourself extra time, slow down and prepare for a longer drop off.
  • “If you are attending a new school for the first time, check out the area a couple of days before,” advised Escalante. “Be familiar with the entry and exit points.
  • Identify alternate pick up and drop off points.”
  • Register for Nixle alerts – www.nixle.com – with your local police agency for traffic alerts and notifications.
  • Try carpooling with other families.
  • Obey speed laws.
  • Park legally, don’t block driveways, red zones or double park. Respect the flow of traffic.
  • Use sidewalks and crosswalks.
  • Remind students who walk to school to be aware of their surroundings and report suspicious activity. Walk in groups and use the buddy system.
  • Talk to your children about their responsibilities as a bicyclist.
  • Be a good example. Respect the neighborhoods where schools reside.
For pedestrians (including skateboard, skate users):
  • Follow the rules of the road.
  • All pedestrians have a duty of using due care for their own safety. Never suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close enough to cause bodily harm.
  • Pedestrians may not unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while crossing in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
  • Don't jaywalk.
For bicyclists: “Follow the rules of the road,” said Hohmann. “When you don’t, you give bicyclists a bad name, and drivers will hold it against you. This goes for car drivers as well. It goes both ways.”
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