How Walking To School Can Keep Your Child Safe From Pedestrian Crashes This Fall

Oct 9, 2020, 8:29 PM | Updated: 10:40 pm

KAYSVILLE, Utah – Pedestrian crashes and fatalities typically increase during the fall in Utah.

No matter what your child’s learning experience looks like this fall, it’s important to teach them how to be safe on Utah roads.

Many kids walk to school, but Seth and Brett Borland choose instead to ride their scooters.

“We have a little downhill on the way home. So coming to school is not fun, but the downhill on the way home is awesome,” their mom Jennifer Borland said laughing.

Regardless of the method, Kristen Hoschouer, safety outreach administrator with the Utah Department of Transportation encouraged students to walk, bike or even scooter to school rather than drive to reduce the number of cars on Utah roads.

She said the risk of pedestrian crashes and fatalities decreases with fewer cars on the road.

“If all the kids are walking then there won’t be very many cars around the school and so we don’t have to worry as much,” she explained.

But Hoschouer said it must be done safely. She urged students to walk on sidewalks and only cross at designated crosswalks after the crossing guard tells them it’s safe.

“If there isn’t a sidewalk, walk on the left-hand side of the road so they can see oncoming traffic,” Hoschouer said.

It requires the attention of both pedestrians and drivers.

“If we’re going down a hill and are about to cross the street, we stop and look for the cars if there’s a stop sign,” Seth described. “Always be looking for kids,” Hoschouer reminded drivers. “Definitely be attentive, especially around a school and be ready to stop. Drive slow!”

For most of the year, Utah sees anywhere from one to three fatalities a month. But Hoschouer said pedestrian fatalities typically increase from September through December.

“In [the] fall, we have four or more fatalities a month, and that’s about a 47% increase in fatalities … in the fall months,” she said.

Hoschouer urged students to wear a helmet when they are riding a bike or scooter and wear reflective gear if they’re walking in the dark. She emphasizes the importance of this especially when the sun starts to rise later and set earlier.

Jennifer’s kids have been walking or riding scooters to school for about five years now, but at first, she was nervous to send them on their own.

“We walked it together quite a few times until I felt comfortable,” she said. She sends them with other friends riding their bikes or scooters.

“If you’re concerned about your kid getting to school, make a group have one parent a week, take the group to school,” Hoschouer suggested.

For her family, Jennifer said there are clear benefits to walking to school.

“So, when they’re active, they’re happier. They’re with their friends, so they’re social.” Jennifer said.

“I get to avoid the traffic — that’s a plus,” she said. It makes for a less stressful morning.

Best of all, it allows for quality time together as a family.

“I like it when I walk with them too because we’ll chat and we’ll talk,” Jennifer said.

In addition to wearing a helmet and staying on the sidewalk, Seth and Brett have one message for their fellow classmates: Have fun!

To find the safest walking route to your child’s school, visit saferoutes.utah.gov.

If your school isn’t listed online, Hoschouer said you can ask your school administration for a map.

Your student can also participate in the monthly “Walk and Roll Challenge” where they get rewarded for walking, biking or scootering to school.

If your child is participating in online school, they can still enter the competition by walking or biking for at least 20 minutes.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Andrew Adams

Relatives scramble to relocate Florida woman to Utah after she lost everything to Ian

Family members were scrambling Tuesday to get a relative in Florida safely to Utah after she lost everything to Hurricane Ian.
12 hours ago
Get Gephardt...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Get Gephardt helps a Clearfield man get his solar panels hooked up after months of delay

Imagine having solar panels installed on your roof but then being unable to get the company to actually hook them up. It happened to Clearfield man and when the company stopped responding, he decided it was time to Get Gephardt.
2 days ago
The SafeUT app provides real-time crisis intervention for people in immediate distress. (KSL TV)...
Debbie Worthen

SafeUT app sees big increase in tips on threats, chat use

On the app designed to keep them safe, Utah students are reporting more tips related to violence, more total tips and using the app chat feature too.
2 days ago
Kalie Jones and Nick Hulse were allowed to bring their children home from foster care after a judge...
Daniella Rivera

Drug tests deemed ‘not sufficiently reliable’ in one child welfare case are commonly used in Utah

A Utah judge ruled that a certain type of drug test was “not sufficiently reliable" in a couple’s legal effort to be reunified with their children, but Utah’s child welfare agency isn’t signaling any plans to stop using the tests it’s relied on increasingly over the last two years.  
2 days ago
A crash at the intersection of Lone Tree and Cropper Lane outside Delta, Utah, Oct. 1, 2022. (Court...
Michael Locklear

Rival high schools show their support for Utah teen killed in car crash

A father who recently lost his daughter in a car crash wants to express his gratitude. He’s touched that several rival high schools across central Utah put aside their differences to honor Oakley Shiner, 17.
2 days ago
Outgoing Granite School District Superintendent Martin W. Bates speaks during a school board meetin...
Larry D. Curtis

SLC school board names interim superintendent

The Salt Lake City School District has a new interim superintendent after the previous leader resigned after approximately one year in the position. The city's board of education said Tuesday evening it is looking to hire a new superintendent while Dr. Martin W. Bates works in the interim role.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
How Walking To School Can Keep Your Child Safe From Pedestrian Crashes This Fall