Parents and other adults are the most important models of proper pedestrian behavior for children.
- Cross streets safely. Cross at a corner, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Try to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them. Do not assume that because you can see the driver, the driver can see you.
- Look left, right, and left again when crossing, and keep looking as you cross. Walk, do not run, across the street.
- Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
- Be a safe pedestrian around cars. Watch for cars that are turning or backing up.
- Parents and young children should hold hands in parking lots.
Set pedestrian safety rules for your children.
- Never allow children under age 10 to cross streets alone. Adult supervision is essential until you are sure a child has good traffic skills and judgment.
- Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
- Make sure children know to cross 10 feet in front of a school bus, never behind, and to wait for adults on the same side of the street as the school bus loading or unloading zone.
- Teach your child never to run out into a street for a ball, a pet or any other reason.
Help create an environment that’s safe for pedestrians.
- Make sure your child plays in safe places away from motor vehicles, such as yards, parks and playgrounds and never in the street. Fence off play areas from driveways and streets.
- Buy clothing and accessories incorporating retro reflective materials for your family to wear at dawn and dusk, in the evening and during other low-light situations, such as rainy or foggy weather.
- Check frequently for children when backing out of a driveway or a parking space.
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Safe Kids Grand Forks, in partnership with local agencies, city government, school districts and private businesses is able to deliver comprehensive pedestrian safety programs throughout our region.
Safe Kids Grand Forks, Grand Forks Public Schools, East Grand Forks Public Schools and the City of East Grand Forks have also been recipients of Safe Routes To School funding over the last eight years. SRTS is a federally funded program that focuses on improving pedestrian and bicycle safety around the country to increase the number of children walking/biking to and from school.
Our programming includes:
- Back to School Safety Activities: Safe Kids works with schools throughout the region to provide materials about "Getting to School Safely" at the beginning of each school year. This includes providing display boards, booths at school open houses and flyers to ditribute to families that focus on safe transportation whether by foot, by bicycle, by school bus or by family vehicle. We have also partnered with Hugo's to host back-to-school events in stores and parking lots in late-August or early-September.
- School specific pedestrian education: Every fall, Safe Kids Grand Forks offers schools the opportunity to receive pedestrian safety education. This can be in the form of school-wide assemblies, newsletters to parents or providing curriculum for teachers to use in the classroom. We tailor our education programs to the needs of specific schools and customize presentations to their specific school.
- Crossing guard training: We have developed a short training program for staff and volunteers who serve as crossing guards at our schools. The presentation is available on a CD-ROM. We have also provided the schools with crossing guard vests and stop paddles.
- AAA Safety Patrol Program: Over the last three years, Safe Kids Grand Forks has been working with several elementary schools in Grand Forks to set up AAA Safety Patrol Programs. The AAA program has been in existence in the United States since the 1930s. Grand Forks is the first school district in the state of North Dakota to train students to serve in the AAA program.
Safety patrols direct children, not traffic. As school-age leaders, patrol members teach other younger students about traffic safety and help them navigate on school property. We never put safety patrols at posts where they would be responsible for stopping or directing motor vehicles. They remain on the sidewalk or curb at all times and work in cooperation with adult crossing guards. Please contact Safe Kids Grand Forks to learn more about bringing a safety patrol program to your school.
- Walk to Win: Altru Health System has been conducting the "Walk to Win" program in both local and regional schools for many years. The purpose of the program is to encourage children and families to walk for exercise. Recently, Safe Kids, "Walk to Win" and Grand Forks physical education teachers have combined efforts to encourage walking to and from school. Several schools have competed for the most mileage walked in the fall semester.
- Pedestrian safety improvement grants: Over the last decade, Safe Kids Grand Forks has applied for and been awarded grants through FedEx and Safe Kids Worldwide to improve pedestrian and bike safety at several schools. These grant dollars have been used to make environmental changes such as altering traffic flow, moving sidewalks to safer locations, contracting with engineering firms to conduct traffic studies and installing “your speed” radar signs. Other grant dollars have been used to initiate school-specific pedestrian and bike safety programs, provide needed safety equipment to schools and continue our safety education programs.
- City government partnerships: Grand Forks and East Grand Forks are fortunate to have strong partnerships and working relationships between numerous agencies involved in pedestrian safety, traffic engineering and enforcement. We are able to work with GF Streets and Sanitation, GF City Engineering, the MPO, the GF Police Department, and public and private schools throughout Greater Grand Forks to address pedestrian safety issues.
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Routinely, the Grand Forks/East Grand Forks Metropolitan Planning Organization assess the safest way for children to get to and from school. Maps indicating the "Safe Routes To School" are published and Safe Kids Grand Forks works with our local schools to distribute this information to parents and children through back-to-school open houses, school newsletters and on the Safe Kids Grand Forks and Grand Forks Public School System's web sites.
It is important to remember that the routes determined to be the safest are not always going to be the shortest. The routes are established based on where there are sidewalks, crosswalks, crossing lights, posted lower speed limits etc. It is also important to keep in mind that these routes may change temporarily based on road construction, etc.
For links to the maps, click here.
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