When it comes to road safety, pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists must all do their part to share our neighbourhood streets safely. And children are never too young to start learning the basics! With school just around the corner, it’s a great time to get them back into learning mode and introduce the essentials or remind them of rules they may have forgotten over the long days of summer. However they will be making their way to school this year, take time to teach them how to journey safely with these Back to School Road SMARTS reminders.
Learning to WalkSafe
If your little student will be walking to and from school this year, get them ready by covering the WalkSafe basics.
Teach them about road signs, traffic lights, and the rules of the road. Make a game of it when you’re out and about – whether on foot or heading out in the car. Ask your kids to play street sign bingo or to watch the street lights and let you know when it’s safe to proceed.
Show them how to cross safely. Remind them to look both ways and proceed cautiously before entering a roadway and always cross at intersections or marked pedestrian crossovers. Make it a rule that smaller walkers always head out with an adult and hold hands when walking for extra security.
Plot out the safest route to and from school. Take a test run, where you show them the safest way to get to school and how to handle any crossings or difficult parts of the walk. Talk about alternate routes their friends might take and why your preferred route is best for your family.
Learn more about our WalkSafe program.
Learning to CycleSafe
If you’re considering letting your older kids ride their bikes to school, then there are some great guidelines in our CycleSafe program to talk about, too.
Make sure they understand that bicycles are vehicles, not pedestrians, and must follow all road rules. Teach them how to be predictable so cars and larger vehicles know where, when, and how they will move.
Practice having them put on their helmet themselves, and teach them how it should feel when put on their head correctly. Make sure they have a helmet that fits and emphasize that helmets are to be worn at all times when they are on their bike.
Teach them the standard cycling hand signals to communicate with all other road traffic, whether it’s pedestrians or motor vehicles. Talk about deferring to pedestrians when possible and doing their part to keep all travellers safe.
Learn more about our CycleSafe program.
Learning Road SMARTS
Lastly, make sure they are doing their part as a good community citizen to keep the streets safe for all with these suggestions from our Road SMARTS program.
Remind them to wear bright colours and use lights to increase their visibility, especially when walking at night, in bad weather, or on country roads. Add any required items to your back-to-school shopping list!
Tell your teens to be alert and careful when walking in traffic. Texting and walking should be banned, and if they like to walk with headphones, agree on a suitable volume that will allow them to still hear and react to vehicles on the road.
Lastly, talk about what it means to take the Road SMARTS pledge as a family, and commit to knowing the rules and following the rules to keep everyone aware and safe.
Learn more about our Road SMARTS program and take the Road SMARTS pledge.