School Transportation Safety

Do you know students are at much greater risk traveling to school than at any other time in their school day? During the 1997/98 school year, over 800 children between the ages of 5 through 18 were killed while traveling to or from school. These students were traveling by passenger vehicle, school bus, bicycle, and by foot.

Children are some of the most vulnerable users of our streets. Even though children under 15 years of age represent only 15 percent of the population, they make up 30 percent of pedestrian injuries. Additionally, children ages 5 to 9 are at the greatest risk of traffic-related pedestrian death and injury. In many instances, parents overestimate their children’s pedestrian skills. Most children are struck in streets or driveways near their homes and schools when darting out between parked cars, walking along the edge of the road, or crossing in the middle of the block or in front of a turning car.

When it comes to crossing the street, you might want to think twice before letting your children go solo. Very few children under age 10 can deal safely with traffic.

Here’s why:

  • Children have difficulty judging how fast cars are moving, how far away they are and which direction traffic sounds are coming from.
  • Young children often have mistaken beliefs about cars. They think cars can stop instantly, or if they can see a driver, the driver can see them.
  • In general, children have trouble recognizing and reacting to danger.

By instilling good safety skills in our children now, not only will they become better pedestrians, but they will also learn to become better motorists when the time comes.

The Elk Grove Police Department actively enforces vehicle code laws, which are the primary cause of fatal and injury traffic collisions, such as vehicle speed and pedestrian right-of-way laws, seat belt and bicycle helmet usage, and other relevant regulations.

The following California Vehicle Code (CVC) sections are some of the most common violations committed near schools by pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists.

CVC Section Description
21201(a) Bicycle, brake required.
21201(b) Bicycle, handlebars no higher than operator’s shoulder.
21201(c) Bicycle, height of pedals not allowing operator to put at least one foot on the ground.
21201(d) Bicycle, during darkness headlight visible for 300 feet from front, rear red reflector visible 500 feet to rear.
21202(a) Bicyclist, failure to use right edge of roadway.
21203 Bicyclist, hitching ride on other vehicle.
21204(a) Bicyclist, riding on other than permanent seat and/or passenger riding on other than permanent seat.
21204(b) Bicyclist, permitting passenger on other than a permanent seat; minor passenger not retained in seat.
21205 Bicyclist, unable to keep at least one hand free to use on handlebars.
21210 Bicycle lying on sidewalk obstructing pedestrian traffic.
21212(a) Person under 18 operating or riding as passenger on bicycle without wearing approved helmet.
21223 Motorized scooter, during darkness headlight, red reflector to the rear, and side reflectors required.
21228(a) Motorized scooter, failure to ride as close as practicable to the right hand curb or right edge of the roadway.
21235(a) Operating a motorized scooter unless it is equipped with a brake.
21235(c) Operating a motorized scooter without wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet.
21235(d) Operating a motorized scooter when the operator is under 16 years of age.
21235(e) Operating a motorized scooter with any passengers in addition to the operator.
21235(f) Operating a motorized scooter carrying any package, bundle, or article that prevents the operator from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.
21235(g) Operating a motorized scooter upon a sidewalk.
21235(i) Leaving a motorized scooter lying on its side on any sidewalk, or parking a motorized scooter on a sidewalk so that it blocks pedestrian traffic.
21451(c) Pedestrians facing circular green, may proceed but must yield to vehicles lawfully within the intersection.
21451(d) Pedestrian facing green arrow shall not enter roadway.
21453(a) Red or Stop, vehicles stop at limit line or X-walk.
21453(b) After stopping, may turn right, or turn left from a one-way street to a one-way street, (unless sign posted) but shall yield to pedestrians and cross traffic.
21453(d) Pedestrian facing circular red or red arrow shall not enter roadway.
21456(a) "Walk" pedestrian failure to yield right-of-way to vehicles already in crosswalk.
21456(b) "Don't walk" or "wait" or "upraised hand," pedestrian crossing against.
21650.1 Bicycle on roadway or shoulder required to be operated in same direction as motor vehicles.
21950(a) Crosswalks, failure to yield to pedestrians within.
21950(b) Crosswalk, pedestrian running in front of vehicle.
21950(c) Failure to exercise due care and reduce speed of the vehicle for pedestrians.
21951 Crosswalk, overtaking and passing vehicle stopped for pedestrian within.
21953 Pedestrian yield, if protected crossing available.
21954(a) Pedestrian yield, upon roadway outside crosswalk.
21955 Jaywalking, between signal controlled intersections.
21956 Walking on roadway, other than pedestrian's left edge.
22350 Unsafe speed for prevailing conditions (use for all prima facie limits).
22352(a)(2)(B) Motorists shall drive at 25 mph when approaching or passing a school with a standard "SCHOOL" warning sign while children are going to and leaving school, including the period of noon recess.
22356(b) Exceeding the maximum speed limit, as specified.
22400(a) Minimum speed, impeding normal flow of traffic.
22400(b) Minimum speed, below sign posted limit.
27315(e) Passenger over 16 years restrained by safety belt.
27315(f) Motor vehicle safety belts maintained in good working order.
27360(a) Makes it unlawful for a parent or legal guardian to permit a child to be transported by vehicle without a child passenger seat restraint system.
27360(b) Makes it unlawful for any driver to transport a child by vehicle without a child passenger seat restraint system not applicable to driver if parent or guardian present.
27360.5(a) Parent or guardian required to ensure proper use of a seatbelt by a child between 4-16 years of age and weighing more than 40 pounds.
27360.5(b) Driver required to ensure proper use of a seatbelt by a child between 4-16 years of age and weighing more than 40 pounds.

The following are some government and private organizations that have a vested interest in promoting school transportation safety and are excellent resources for additional information.

  • Local schools, both public and private
  • Elk Grove Unified School District
  • Parent-Teacher Associations
  • Health care facilities and doctor’s offices
  • Local bike advocacy groups
  • YMCA
  • Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts
  • Automobile Club

October - "National Walk Our Children to School Day"

In 1997, the Partnership for a Walkable America sponsored the first National Walk Our Children to School Day in Chicago. Back then, it was simply a day to bring community leaders and children together to make a community more walkable. By the year 2000, children, parents, teachers and community leaders in 47 states joined two million walkers around the world to celebrate the first International Walk to School Day. International Walk to School Day 2001 will give children in the United States a chance to be a part of a global event. Last year's International Walk to School Day was a rousing success, with over two million walkers in Canada, Great Britain, the United States, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Gibraltar, Cyprus, and the Isle of Man taking part in the day's events. This year, why not participate, contact your local school and learn more about this worthy event.

Daily Traffic Mission

It is the responsibility of all motorists and pedestrians to observe all traffic laws as described in the California Vehicle Code; the daily mission of uniformed officers is to ensure the safe movement of traffic and enforce the Primary Collision Factors (PCF) that cause traffic collisions. The top five causes of collisions are speed violations, red light violations, right-of-way violations, pedestrian violations, and driving-under-the-influence (DUI).

It is the responsibility of every uniformed officer to enforce the violations of the California Vehicle Code, educate citizens on the importance of traffic safety, and make every effort to remove alcohol-impaired drivers from City streets. These efforts, combined with the active participation of community members following the rules of the road, will help ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians throughout the City.