BACK-TO-SCHOOL SAFETY: SGF Yields asks drivers and students to work as a team

Pedestrian safety graphic by MGN.
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - More than 25,000 Springfield students will be walking, biking, or driving to the first day of the new school year Tuesday morning, which means it's time for fellow drivers to slow down in those school zones.

Mandy Buttgen with the SGF Yields Campaign with the City of Springfield's Public Works Department said safety can best be achieved when drivers and students works as a team, each doing their part to be safe.

"Let off the gas, make sure you're driving the speed limit, maybe even cover the break if someone is tailgating you," started Buttgen. "Just be ready to stop and look for those pedestrians and be sure, especially with children, to make eye contact, don't wave them across, but make eye contact and just be part of the solution."

The City of Springfield also has a list of safety tips for students who use the sidewalks to either walk or bike to school.

Walking Safety
- Plan a safe route for your children to take to school and walk it with your child so you will know that they are comfortable with it. Also plan an alternate route in case it should become necessary.
- Avoid planning the route too close to parks, vacant lots, fields, and places where there are not many people around.
- Whenever possible, it's best to walk with other children.

Bike Safety
- Protect yourself. Be noticed. Wear bright clothing. Have lights and reflectors on your bicycle. Wear a protective helmet. Keep ears open to hear traffic, trains, or warnings from others.
- Obey all traffic rules and signs. Stop at all stop signs and signals, and yield to traffic, including pedestrians, when appropriate.
- Ride on the right side of the street (in the same direction as automobiles). Normal positioning is 2 to 4 feet from the curb or edge of roadway or a car door's width from parked cars.
- Position in intersection approach for intended movement. Use rule of thirds. If turning right, use right side of lane. If crossing intersection, use center of right through lane. If turning left, use center of left turn lane or left side of shared lane. When changing lanes or positioning in lanes, always check behind for vehicles. Bike lanes, where provided, end near the beginning of left turn lanes. Bicyclists should position themselves in the through lane or the appropriate turn lane as they approach the intersection.
- Position in lane for speed. If slower than other traffic, stay to the right. If same speed as other traffic, use center of lane. If faster than other traffic, overtake on left.

Over the summer months, the SGF Yields Campaign worked with Springfield Public Schools to make sure any updates that were needed around schools were taken care of. Those improvements include touching up the crosswalks, adding more or new traffic signage, and also re-programming 96 flashing school zone beacons by hand.

Buttgen said SGF Yields will visit five Springfield Elementary Schools this year to review the best safety practices to ensure students get to and from school safely.

If any parents or concerned citizens need to report a school zone sign being blocked or feels there should be additional signs near a school, they can contact the citizen request line at 417-864-1010.