What is the Georgia Safe Routes to School Program and how do I find one for my child?
Since 2009, Georgia government officials have been working to improve the safety of children as they walk or bike to school. Through the federal Safe Routes to School program (SRTS), Georgia legislators have developed programs and initiatives to make safer routes to 416 schools in our state.
The Federal SRTS program began in 2005 as a national campaign to improve the safety of child pedestrians. The call was put out for local government involvement in infrastructure improvements, community initiatives for safety watches, and parental education. Every state is charged with implementing its own plan of action and in 2009, Georgia awarded a contract to a URS Corporation in Atlanta to administrate the SRTS Resource Center.
Improving Safety and Encouraging More Kids to Bike and Walk to School
Georgia's SRTS program focuses on two areas of service: improving the safety of the pedestrian routes to schools and encouraging children to use those safe routes. Supporting these areas of service involves active participation from local governments, school administration, and parents.
Improving the safety of the many routes to a school is the collaborative job of the city government and local community. While the government can assist with infrastructure improvements such as adding bike lanes and sidewalks, the community can also assist with volunteer crossing guards and neighborhood watches.
Schools have also taken an active role in encouraging students to bike or walk to school. Some schools have active education programs on the benefits of walking and biking and how to stay safe when doing so. More schools are installing bike racks to encourage bike use, and many are tracking student transportation data to help evaluate the effectiveness of the SRTS program.
How Georgia Parents Can Get Involved in the Safe Routes to School Program
Parents play an integral part in improving and promoting the Georgia Safe Routes to School program. The first step begins at home, where you can educate your child on how to stay safe when walking or biking to and from school. Make sure to outfit your child with the proper bike helmet and a bicycle that is the right size for her age.
Consider forming a walking group with other families in your area who attend the same schools. Parents can take turns accompanying their groups of children to and from school for an extra measure of safety. Also, take the time to travel the routes with your child and get to know the local crossing guards, if any are volunteering in your area. If your neighborhood or school does not have crossing guards, consider setting up a program with your community leader or school administration.
If your child's school is not among the 416 Georgia schools currently participating in the Safe Routes to School program as of December 2015, you can help get them started. Visit the Georgia SRTS website and find your region's partnership coordinator, then send them a message regarding your child's school and how you can help get them involved in the program.
Everyone Can Improve a Child's Safety When Walking to School
Not just legislators, schools, and parents have the responsibility of improving our children's safety when walking or biking to school. Every driver in Georgia has the ability to help prevent a child’s injuries by being responsible and safe drivers. Especially in school zones, but also anywhere during and after school hours, Georgia drivers should be extra careful near schools and while driving through neighborhoods.
If a negligent driver hit your child while she was walking or biking to or from school, a car accident attorney at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. can help you pursue compensation for their injuries. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment for a FREE consultation regarding your family's legal options if your child was seriously injured or killed in a car accident: 404-474-0804.