10 steps to make walking or biking to school safer
More than half of U.S. parents support road closures, traffic restrictions and lower speed limits to protect students walking or cycling to school during the COVID pandemic.
A similar number of parents said safer roads would convince them to have their child walk or bike to reduce their chances of being exposed to COVID on school buses and other forms of mass transportation where social distancing is more difficult, according to an international UNICEF survey.
But one-third of parents think the streets around their schools are too dangerous for walking or cycling, while 63% remain concerned about air quality and road safety, the survey found.
Many cities have opened new or temporary bike lanes, widened footpaths, and reduced vehicle speed limits as traffic accidents remain the leading cause of death for children and young people worldwide.
U.S. parents were the least concerned about road safety in the global poll yet the U.S. has triple the overall rate of child road deaths compared to other developed countries, according to New England Journal of Medicine data cited by UNICEF, the children’s advocacy branch of the United Nations.
UNICEF has also released a 10-step guide to make the trip to school safer:
- Engage the entire school community in road safety initiatives
- Ensure physical distancing during school drop-off and pick-up
- Prioritize active, non-motorized transport to support physical distancing
- Make it safe for students to walk, cycle, scoot and ride a wheelchair
- Help students who cycle and scoot to follow protocols
- Reduce private vehicle use
- Treat school buses as extensions of the classroom
- Promote safety and hygiene on public and shared transport
- Ensure equal access for marginalized populations
- Sustain changes in the long term
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DA’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on K-12.