By Crystal Hayduk
In an Oct. 1 email message, South Meadows Principal Stacie Battaglia informed parents that a third-grade student had been involved in an accident the previous week, prompting a safety reminder.
Battaglia said in an interview that the student had been riding her bike home from school when a vehicle collided with her. “We are all so grateful that she only suffered minor injuries,” Battaglia said. “Her family and the school staff were all very shaken up by it.”
Battaglia said,“This is just the perfect time to remind everyone to be extra cautious, because anything can happen at any time.”
Battaglia said that the school district has safety protocols that are shared with parents on a regular basis; but she frequently sees children running across the street even though they are repeatedly asked not to do this. “We have these rules in place across the district for the safety of the students,” she said.
Chelsea Police Chief Ed Toth agreed that sometimes convenience has to be sacrificed for safety. “North Creek parents weren’t thrilled at first with the change in after school pick-up procedures, but it’s working,” he said. “It’s definitely safer now.”
Toth reviewed some basic bike safety rules, which included making sure that the bike is in good working order – the brakes work, the wheels don’t wobble, and the handlebars are snug. Always wear a helmet. If there’s any doubt that it’s safe to cross a street, don’t cross.
Walkers should also adhere to safety rules. “Don’t cross the street until you see eye-to-eye with the driver,” Toth said. “If the driver is talking on the phone, or is distracted in any way at all, it’s not safe to cross.”
Likewise, Toth said that it is dangerous for drivers to “wave a child across the street. They think they are helping, but another driver could be coming the other direction or from behind, not realize what is going on and then an accident happens.”
Toth emphasized the aspect of parents repetitively teaching children bike and pedestrian safety rules.
“When you think they know what to do, keep quizzing them,” he suggested. “You don’t want to make them afraid, but you do want to help them to be aware.”
Parents and children can contact the police department if they would like to discuss safety issues with an officer.
Information to help your child be a safe pedestrian can be found here.
Basic bike safety for children can be found here.