Annual Walk to School campaign aims to reduce risk of Chicago pedestrian accidents

Illinois schools have scheduled 184 Walk-to-School events during the month of October as part of an education and awareness campaign that hopes to teach elementary and middle-school age children across the state, nation and globe about the benefits of walking or riding their bike to school, Walk To School reports.

Events kicked off on Oct. 6, when students across the state participated in International Walk to School day, marking the 14th year students from Chicago and beyond have taken to the streets to hoof it to school.Our Chicago pedestrian accident lawyers support the goals of the campaign which encourage children – including the disabled – to engage in some physical activity by walking or biking to school. Additionally, partnerships between participating parents, teacher and students provide a safe environment for students to sharpen their traffic safety skills. From an environmentalist perspective, there is a final lesson: walking to school also reduces both fuel consumption and air pollution.

Since 2005, the Illinois Department of Transportation Safe Route to School program has awarded more than $23.5 million to districts around the state. In 2009 alone, $13.1 million was distributed to fund 171 projects ranging from sidewalk repairs to purchasing equipment for law enforcement and crossing guards.

Getting a kid interested in walking or biking to school is one thing. Keeping them safe is another. To prevent pedestrian or bicycling accidents, the Children’s Medical Center provides the following safety tips:

Avoiding a Chicago Pedestrian Accident:

~ Until a child is age 10 or older, they should always be accompanied by an adult when walking anywhere. Holding hands is the safest way to cross streets or parking lots when walking anywhere with a younger child.

~ Always use crosswalks and sidewalks when they are available. Never enter a roadway without first stopping and looking left and right TWICE. Never step onto the road if you see a car coming your way.

~ If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic. Put as much space between yourself and traffic as possible.

~ If you have to have to walk in darkness, wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight. Even in daylight, bright clothing can help make you more visible to drivers.

Avoiding a Chicago Bicycle Accident:

~ Always wear a helmet and make sure both the helmet and the bike fit the rider.

~ Obey all traffic laws and ride with traffic, not against it. Put as much space between yourself and traffic as possible.

~ Avoid ride a bicycle when it is dark, foggy or in other low-visibility conditions.

The Chicago car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free consultations to families dealing with an auto accident, pedestrian accident or other personal injury or wrongful death claim. Call (866) 99-ABELS.

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