Walking can be a fun past time for pedestrians and families of all ages. It’s a healthy and active way to spend time together. Some prefer to walk to get exercise and enjoy the outdoors. Others walk to get to work or to visit friends and family.
Whatever the reason, it’s a good idea to:
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings.
- Eliminate distractions such as using your mobile devices for texting, listening to music, or gaming.
- Avoid wearing headphones or anything that can obstruct your vision or hearing.
- Follow rules for pedestrians and obey traffic signs and lights.
- Practice safety procedures that can be shared with walkers of all ages, including children.
Crossing a street presents many dangers to child pedestrians. Young children are not capable of understanding the dangers and do not develop the skills necessary for crossing a street safely until they are at least nine years of age. Children between the ages of 5 and 19 have the highest incidence rate of pedestrian-related injury compared to all other ages in Saskatchewan. Factors that affect a child’s ability to safely cross the street include vision, hearing, physical height, mental development, and perception.1
As parents and caregivers, we need to teach children about pedestrian safety. Always lead by example. Before you go out, plan a route, and tell a family member or friend. Consider walking in groups.2
Here is some advice from CAA for pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists to help share our roads safely and responsibly:
- Stop, look both ways, listen and think before safely crossing the street.
- Never run out in traffic or between parked cars, buses or buildings.
- Parents, caregivers or older children should hold hands with younger children when crossing the street.
- Follow signals and cross at designated locations or crosswalks.
- At a traffic light, start crossing when the walk light first starts flashing. Do not cross when the final countdown is on signaling the light will change as you will not have enough time to cross the street safely.
- At large intersections, you may use the center median if you are unable to complete your cross before the light changes.
- Make eye contact with motorists who want to turn – never assume that drivers can see you or know your intentions.
- Wear reflective clothing or accessories at night to make yourself more visible.
- Cycling? Learn how to safely walk you bike across the street and other cycling tips at caask.ca/bikesafety
Walking to and from school is an active way for children to get their exercise while enjoying the outdoors. Kids who walk build independence and social skills and they move more than kids who don’t. When they walk to school, they arrive energized and ready to learn.3
Walking your kids to school
- Gadgets can be distracting, put them in backpacks or leave them at home.
- Decide on a route to school together. Parents be sure to point out crosswalks, stop signs, and family or friends’ homes.
- Stay alert when walking and crossing the street.
- Buddy up with a sibling or friend for a safer and more fun way to talk to school.
Drivers and cyclists
- Always look for pedestrians crossing the road at intersections. Drivers and cyclists must yield to the right of way to pedestrians crossing the street.
- Watch for children who may dart out in traffic.
- Be aware of blind spots when making your turns at intersections.
- Avoid distractions inside and outside of your vehicle.
- Watch your speed in school zones and residential areas and be prepared for the unexpected.
- Be cautious around stopped transit vehicles and be courteous to vulnerable pedestrians.
- Communication (eye contact, indicate turns, etc.) between all road users is important to keep everyone safe.
CAA Saskatchewan is a dedicated safety advocate for motorists, travellers, and pedestrians. We work with community partners, local and provincial governments to help make conditions safer for everyone on our roads.
- Saskatchewan Prevention Institute
- Saskatchewan Safety Council
- Saskatchewan in Motion
- CAA School Zone Safety
- CAA Saskatchewan School Zone Safety
With thanks to CAA South Central Ontario.