Menlo Park City School District urges safe walking, biking and driving

by Parke Treadway on September 21, 2021

Within the last two weeks, a third grade Encinal student biking home near Laurel and Ravenswood was struck by a car, a 13-year-old student was hit in downtown Menlo Park, and in Lafayette a school crossing guard helping protect a student in the street, was tragically killed by a car.

Fortunately, both local students are recovering well. These incidents have prompted the Menlo Park City School District to alert the community to pay extra attention to safe driving, biking, and walking, especially now that schools are fully open.

MPCSD has reached out to parents through its district and school-based newsletters and sent an alert to its full list of community voters for which it has email addresses. The Atherton and Menlo Park Police Departments have also written letters with important safety reminders for our community: Atherton Police Department Traffic Safety Letter and Menlo Park Police Department Traffic Safety Letter. 

MPCSD works closely with its School Resource Officers from both Atherton and Menlo Park Police, and are adding increased outreach to students and families about walking and biking safety. The district will also host bike rodeos, which teach students proper biking safety with courses set up at the school campuses, in the coming weeks. 

According to both police departments, safety reminders for bikers, pedestrians, and drivers include:

When walking:

● Always walk facing traffic (against the flow) so you can see the vehicles coming in your direction when not on a sidewalk.

● Use crosswalks at all times!!! Do not try to cross in the middle of the street.

When biking:

● Always wear a helmet.

● Stay in the bike lane when possible (when you must leave the bike lane due to a vehicle being in that lane, try to walk the bicycle, or hug the shoulder as much as possible).

● Ride in the same direction as traffic.

● Riders are considered vehicle operators and are required to obey the same rules of the road as other vehicle operators, including obeying traffic signs, signals, and lane markings.

When driving:

● Slow down — where you are going can wait.

● Be alert, especially in the morning and afternoons when students are walking/biking to school.

● Give pedestrians the right of way when using crosswalks.

● Put your phone away. Whatever you need to text/email can wait until you get home! Someone’s life may depend on it.

Photo of Oak Knoll dismissal traffic by Linda Hubbard (c) 2021

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