Back To School Safety Tips

We've compiled some safety tips for you as the school year adds to traffic in the area

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Kids are back to school and that means an increase in pedestrians and school buses in Oak Park and the surrounding areas.

Last week, there were two incidents involving students and motor vehicles. One child was struck by a moving vehicle near the 400 block of South Ridgeland Avenue and suffered a leg fracture. The other child was riding a bike and had a minor incident with a vehicle. The student was treated on scene and released.

With the added activity on the roads, we all need to be more cautious as we are traveling around the area. We’ve compiled a list of laws and regulations that are beneficial to review as the streets get busier.

Illinois law requires the following when you see a school bus on the road:

  • Two-lane roadways: when a school bus has flashing red lights and/or an extended stop arm, both directions of traffic must stop.
  • Four (or more) lane roadways: when a school bus has flashing red lights and/or an extended stop arm, all lanes traveling in the direction of traffic that the school bus is must stop.
  • Never pass a stopped or slowing school bus on the right – that’s where kids are entering and exiting the bus
  • All school buses must stop at railroad crossings.  Do not attempt to pass them while they do so.

Here are some other important laws to follow for your safety and the safety of those around you:

  • When you see a pedestrian standing in a marked walkway, Illinois law requires that you stop for them to safely walk across.
  • Signals of crossing guards should always be followed
  • It is illegal in Illinois to use a handheld device while driving. All phone use must be hands-free.
  • All bicyclists under the age of 17 are required to wear a helmet.  All bicyclists over the age of 17 are also encouraged to wear one when riding through Oak Park.
  • Riding a bicycle on a sidewalk is not allowed (no matter your age) in Oak Park’s business districts. Outside of business areas, those under the age of 15 may ride on the sidewalk. Young bicyclists should always yield to pedestrians on the sidewalks.
  • When riding a bicycle on the road, you must ride in the direction of traffic. All laws pertaining to motor vehicles must be followed by bicyclists as well while on the roadways.

If everyone in our community pays closer attention to buses, road signs, and each other, we can work together to have a safer school year.

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