Heading Back to Class Often Dangerous for Young Pedestrians
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the school bus is the safest vehicle on the road, and children are about 70 times safer riding a bus to and from school than walking or traveling by car. Still, the hours between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. can be particularly dangerous for young pedestrians leaving school or heading home from activities, and drivers should keep an eye out for children who may suddenly run out into the street near school zones, playgrounds, and bus stops.
Pedestrian Law in Colorado
In Colorado, vehicles are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within a crosswalk if they are in the same half of the roadway as the vehicle, or when a pedestrian is approaching closely from the opposite side of the roadway. Anyone who commits a moving traffic violation in a school zone will face enhanced penalties and surcharges.
It is illegal for pedestrians to abruptly leave the curb on foot, bicycle, or electronic bicycle and enter a crosswalk in front of a vehicle close enough to present an immediate danger. When a pedestrian crosses a street somewhere other than at a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, motorists typically have the right-of-way.
Preventing School Zone Pedestrian Accidents
Children on foot are particularly vulnerable to being hit by vehicles at busy intersections near schools. Here are some of the ways that drivers can make school zones safer for children:
- Obey speed limits. Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason, and a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling 35 mph is nearly two-thirds more likely to be killed as someone struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph slower.
- Never pass a stopped school bus. Passing a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading children when the stop sign is extended and lights are flashing is illegal in all 50 states.
- Come to a complete stop. Experts say that more than one-third of all drivers fail to come to a complete stop at stop signs in school zones or residential neighborhoods.
- Avoid distractions. Children move quickly — crossing the road unexpectedly, darting out from between parked cars, chasing a ball out into the street — and taking your eyes off the road for just a second or two can double your chances of causing a pedestrian accident. Reduce the risk of injuring someone by turning off your cell phone while driving, especially in a school zone or residential area.
- Be aware of blind spots. Be aware where your vehicle’s blind spots are, and always check for children on sidewalks, in driveways, and near your vehicle as you back up.
- Watch for bicycles. Kids who ride bicycles to school can be inexperienced, unsteady, and unpredictable. Always allow at least three feet of distance between your car and a bicycle, and if your child bikes to school, insist that he or she wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet.
Did you or a loved one sustain a serious injury in a school zone in Colorado? Contact personal injury attorney Dan Rosen at (303) 963-9906 or (800) ROSEN-911 to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced lawyer