Buses, Bikes and Cars: Keeping Children Safe

It’s no secret that children view the world differently from adults. They don’t have the skills necessary to analyze dangerous situations or the consequences of their actions. It’s our responsibility as adults and parents to teach them the right way to do things through constant discussion and reminders. By creating good habits from the start, we may be able to prevent accidents from happening. The following tips should be helpful and discussed often with your children: 

Automobile safety: Be aware of children 

Did you know that one out of four pedestrian-vehicle collisions involves a child under 15 years of age. Most fatalities occur among those between ages 5 and 9.  They may be told, but still don’t understand the threat of vehicles to their safety.  

AAA recommends that you keep the following safety tips in mind:  

  • Follow all traffic signs and symbols.
  • Drive slowly near schools, playgrounds and residential areas.
  • Watch for signs that children are in the area, such as buses, bikes, safety patrols and crossing guards.
  • Stop and leave adequate space between your vehicle and a stopped school bus regardless of the direction in which you are traveling.
  • Watch for students rushing to catch their bus.
  • Use extra care when the weather is inclement or when the sun impairs your vision.  

Bus safety for motorists


  • Know your state’s school bus laws and obey them. Generally, flashing yellow lights mean caution, the bus is about to stop. Flashing red lights mean stop, children are getting on or off.
  • When red lights are flashing, all traffic (in both directions) must stop.
  • Failure to obey school bus laws carries hefty fines that vary from state to state. In Connecticut, for example, fines of up to $500 are assessed for the first offense. Second offenses carry fines of up to $1,000 and 30 days in jail. Also, convicted drivers face cancellation of their current auto insurance policies and find it extremely difficult to get future coverage.  

Bus safety for students 

The Connecticut School Bus Drivers Alliance recommends these simple bus safety rules:

  • Arrive at your bus stop on time.
  • Wait for the bus in a safe place, away from the curb.
  • Enter the bus in an orderly manner and take your seat.
  • Listen to and follow all of your bus driver’s instructions.
  • Remain seated while the bus is in motion.
  • Keep the aisle clear at all times.
  • Do not throw objects inside the bus or outside the window.
  • Be sure to tie your shoes and pack all papers inside your bag before getting off the bus.
  • Do not stand or walk behind the bus since the driver can not see you.
  • Meet your parents on the same side of the street that the bus lets you off.
  • If you must cross the street when boarding or leaving the bus, be sure to walk where you can see the driver (and therefore the driver can see you!). Wait for the driver’s signal for you to cross, making sure that you look both ways for cars.  

Safe biking 

Every day at least one child dies in a bike-related accident, and another 1,000 are seriously injured. Contrary to popular belief, most of these injuries are caused by simple falls due to road conditions and not from car collisions. Many of these injuries can be avoided if cyclists just use proper equipment for protection, follow the rules of the road and remember to treat their bicycles with respect.

Here are some simple rules you should review with your children:

  • Bikes are vehicles, not toys. Treat them as such.
  • Always wear your helmet. A properly fitted bicycle helmet can reduce your child’s risk of serious head injury by 85%. In many states, wearing a helmet while riding a bike is the law!
  • Wear reflectors on your clothing after dusk.
  • Walk you bike across busy intersections.
  • Keep your bike in good shape, especially the brakes.
  • Follow the rules of the road just like all other vehicles.
  • Don’t drive against traffic…drive on the same side of the road as cars.
  • Obey all stop signs and traffic lights.
  • Don’t ride more than one person to a bike.
  • Don’t ride at night when drivers can’t see you.
  • Don’t ride in the street unless you know the rules.

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