August 22, 2016

SCPD Back to School Safety Tips

Santa Cruz City Schools start this week and that means more cars, bicyclists and pedestrians will be on the streets and sidewalks. To prepare for the busy school commute, here are a few SCPD Back to School Safety Tips and Reminders.
The new school year can create traffic congestion on the roadways, so please plan ahead. Leave your home earlier than normal to allow enough time to reach your destination without rushing.  Let’s all do our part to help keep our children safe. It is everyone’s responsibility to know the rules of the road whether walking, bicycling, skating or driving.
School zones are designated 25 mph and it is important that everyone takes extra care
when driving in or near one. SCPD will have additional enforcement patrols around schools during the opening weeks of the school year.
SCPD Reminders for Motorists:
· Slow down. Observe the speed limit in school zones at all times. At Stop signs, drivers must come to a complete STOP and proceed with caution. Be especially careful when driving on neighborhood streets and around school zones.

· Be aware of “no parking” signs, red zones, fire hydrants, blocking or stopping in disabled stalls, crosswalks, driveways and double parking.
· Be alert for children walking and biking as you back out of your driveway or leave your garage.

· Watch for children on bicycles, especially at intersections.
· Stop your car when you see lights flashing on a school bus. Red flashing lights indicate that the bus is stopped and students are getting on or off. Be aware that a child may dash across the street.
SCPD Safety Tips for Pedestrians:
· Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk and you have to walk in the road, always walk FACING traffic.
· Cross only at corners or marked crosswalks.
· Stop at the curb, or the edge of the road.
· Walk in groups, there is safety in numbers. Groups are more likely to be seen by drivers.
· Before crossing the street, stop and look left, then right, then left again. When vehicles are stopped, make eye contact with the driver to insure they know you are there before proceeding.
· If you see a car, wait until it goes by. Then look left, right and left again until traffic is clear and it is safe to cross.

SCPD Safety Tips for Bicyclists: 
· Wear a helmet.
· Be sure to have reflectors on your pedals, frame, and wheels.
· Be Seen and Be Aware of your surroundings
· Follow the Rules of the Road
- Ride on the right, with the traffic, in single file. Obey stop signs and traffic lights. Never cross a street without looking for cars. Give the right of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks. When crossing the street, children should get off and walk their bikes using the marked crosswalk.
SCPD also encourages parents to share this message with their children. If approached or called out to by a stranger, they should run to a safe place, and tell a trusted adult.

Children should be encouraged to report suspicious behavior, or any behavior in which they feel uncomfortable or confused, to a trusted adult caregiver such as a parent, guardian, teacher, nurse or police officer.