Mapping a Safe Route to School Can Reduce Child Injuries Related to Pedestrian or Bicycling Accidents in Charlotte, Gastonia

We conclude our “Back to School Safety” series with our final topic, North Carolina’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program.

The goal of our series has been to get parents to communicate to their children about dangers they can face and try to minimize child injuries at school in Charlotte, Asheville and throughout the state.
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Previous topics have included school safety on playgrounds, motorists and teen driving tips, and children walking and biking to school safely.

Children spend much of their time being educated inside the classroom but Gastonia personal injury lawyers know that not enough attention is given to teaching children to walk or ride safely to school or to use safety precautions at school drop off zones and bus stops.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation devotes resources to bicycle and pedestrian safety partly because the youth of our country have become very stagnant and increasing fitness levels through bicycling and walking is a simple way to promote exercise. The reason that safety initiatives are needed is because roadways are filled with distracted or speeding motorists who make it extremely unsafe for our little ones to travel by foot or pedal on the same streets.

The North Carolina Safe Routes to School Program was created to make walking and biking more appealing to students who live close to school. Many communities have issues with congestion and traffic safety on roadways. Studies from 1969 indicate that 87 percent of children living within one mile from school transported themselves to school and 50 percent used walking or biking as a method of transportation.

Presently, less than 15 percent of children walk or bike to school and 26 percent of morning congestion on roadways is attributed to parents driving their kids to school. With many schools omitting physical education classes from their curriculum, inactive lifestyles have become even more of a health concern for young children.

Successful SRTS Programs require community support and full participation from school officials, parents, teachers, community leaders and others. Developing strategies to improve health, the environment and transportation safety can ultimately reduce bicycle and pedestrian injuries and prevent kids from becoming overweight among other health issues that come from an inactive lifestyle. Some of the key improvement areas include: reducing fuel consumption, improving air quality, reducing obesity in children, promoting active lifestyles, making roads more accessible for pedestrians and bicyclists and finding ways to gain interest in walking and biking.

Between 2004 and 2008 in North Carolina, of children ages 6-10 years-old, 506 were injured in pedestrian crashes and 479 were injured in bicycle crashes. NCDOT encourages parents to map out a safe route for your child to take to school and practice riding or walking the route a couple of times before school starts.

Visit online to learn more about the 2011 Walk to School Day in October.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycling or pedestrian accident in your North Carolina community, contact the personal injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices, P.A. We offer free consultations to victims and their families so call 1-800-887-1965 to discuss your case today.

More Blog Entries:
Back to School Puts Children at Risk for School Bus Accidents in Asheville, Statesville, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, August 13, 2011.

Pedestrians in Charlotte at Risk of Being Struck by Alcohol Impaired Drivers, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, July 23, 2011 Residents Participate in Spring Ride to Raise Awareness of North Carolina Bicycling Accidents, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, April 15, 2011.

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