Safe Routes Utah aims educate younger students on pedestrian safety

Nov 7, 2023, 5:05 PM | Updated: 5:27 pm

SALT LAKE CITY –– Pedestrian vs vehicle crashes happen across Utah, but a frightening number of them happen in school zones and involve young children.

“We get parents who will reach out all the time and say, ‘Can you guys do something?'” said Natalie Lovell, outreach manager with Safes Routes.

Safe Routes is a program that focuses on educating students on being safe while walking to school and back to their families.

Lovell said their program has doubled the number of assemblies given to schools compared to this time last year. The desire to educate kids on safely crossing the street is at an all-time high.

“We have one assembly for the younger grades, it’s very basic, how to look left and right, how to make eye contact, things like that, and then we have one for the older grades that gets a little more in-depth of stopping distance with cars, why you cant dart in front of them,” Lovell said.

Safe Routes Program rewards kids for walking, riding bikes to school

For students K to 8, Safe Routes finds an engaging way to educate students on how to safely coexist with vehicles when walking or biking — by using video games and activities during the presentation.

As of this year, they also offer online pedestrian safety lesson plans made accessible to all middle school teachers.

“Kids are kids. They are in play mode 24/7. They don’t realize they are out in the yard, they don’t realize the cars are coming, and so that’s why we need to get ahead of this. We want to start those habits young, too,” Lovell said.

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Safe Routes Utah aims educate younger students on pedestrian safety