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Police provide parental pointers for school safety

August 28, 2000

Police provide parental pointers for school safety



By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer


With school back in session, area police agencies want students and their parents to be cool about school safety.

Maryland State Police urge all who walk or ride a bike to and from school to follow a few simple rules during the 2000-2001 school year.

Walkers should always stop at the edge of the street, look both ways for traffic, and cross only when no vehicles are coming, police say. They also should continue to check for traffic as they walk.

Don't jaywalk and always walk facing traffic, state police said.

So far this year, 48 pedestrians have died in Maryland, state police said.

The rules for bicyclists differ from those for walkers in Maryland, according to Officer Randy Rourke of the Hagerstown City Police.

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"Bicycles are considered vehicles and as such they are subject to the same laws as other vehicles," Rourke said.

That means bicyclists must ride with traffic, stay off sidewalks and obey one-way street directions, Rourke said.

All bicycles must have a bell or other device that can be heard 100 feet away.

Pedestrian and bike accidents are two of the leading causes of unintentional death among children ages 5 to 14, police said.

Bus transportation to and from school is among the safest form of travel but there are substantial risks associated with getting to bus stops, boarding and getting off buses and then crossing streets, police said.

State police urge parents to practice crossing streets with their children, remembering that students in kindergarten through third grade have no real sense of danger and cannot judge speed or distance as older youngsters and adults can.

Another safety issue that crops up as the new school year starts is paying attention to strangers, according to Deputy Jim Holsinger of the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

"Children must be reminded never to get in strangers' cars," Holsinger said. And if a stranger begins following, students are advised to walk in the opposite direction toward the nearest safe location.

Another rule of thumb is to always go straight to school from home and vice versa so the whereabouts of students are known, Holsinger said.

"Always be aware of your surroundings is the best advice I can give students," Holsinger said.

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