With the start of a new school year approaching, the Iowa City Police Department is offering some safety reminders for students traveling to and from school. Make it a safe school year and follow the tips below. 

Walking to school 

  • Parents should walk or bike the route prior to school starting: look for any possible hazards and identify a safe place for your child to go if they need help
  • Stop, look, and listen before crossing the street 
  • Always cross at the crosswalk and obey traffic signals
  • Stay on the sidewalk or bike path, do not use the street 
  • Do not take short cuts or cross between parked cars
  • If someone approaches you, or makes you feel uncomfortable, do not talk to them just keep going

Biking to school

  • Wear brightly colored clothing that will make you more visible to drivers
  • Always wear a properly fitted helmet and check your bike equipment
  • Backpacks should be tight on the upper back and not dragging on the rear tire
  • Obey traffic lights and stop signs
  • Ride on the right, going the same direction as traffic
  • Use appropriate hand signals

Need a helmet? The Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department, in cooperation with SAFE KIDS Johnson County and Bell Sports, offers bike and all-sport helmets to kids and adults for $12. Stop by the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center's Customer Service Desk at 220 S. Gilbert St. to purchase.

For other helpful biking tips, view the City's Bike Shorts video series at icgov.org/bikeshorts

Riding the bus

  • Be at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive
  • Know your bus number
  • If someone offers you a ride always say "NO!"
  • Do not play in the street while waiting for your bus.
  • When the bus approaches, stand at least three giant steps, about 6 ft., away from the curb
  • Line up away from the street
  • Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says that it's OK before boarding
  • If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least five giant steps, about 10 ft., ahead of the bus before you cross
  • Be sure the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver before you cross

Driving to school 

  • Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and school zones
  • Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians, and on curbs
  • Be prepared to share the road with young bicyclists
  • Watch for children on and near the road in the morning and after school hours
  • Reduce distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings
  • Do not text, email or use your phone while driving
  • Always give children the right-of-way in crosswalks and school zones

Date of publication

Tuesday, August 20, 2019