St. Vrain Safe Routes to School enables and encourages children and their parents to walk, bike or use human power to get to and from school each and every day. The program is designed to increase awareness and be self-motivating. Visit the Safe Routes to School webpage for more program information. You can also find a library of route maps for Longmont area schools on our Maps: Safe Routes to School webpage.
Walk with your children to determine a daily walking or bicycling route to school that avoids the busiest intersections and makes use of sidewalks, multi-use paths, traffic signals, marked crosswalks, and school crossing guards. Avoid the congested pick-up and drop-off areas adjacent to the school.
- Walk your pre-determined route in a GROUP to be SAFER and more VISIBLE.
- STOP before every curb and look left, right, left and over your shoulder! Make certain that drivers see you and will wait for you.
- WALK across the street at corners or crosswalks; don’t “jaywalk or enter the street from between parked vehicles.
- Use push-buttons at traffic signals and WAIT for the “Walk” light. Even then, make certain that drivers see you.
- Be extra ALERT and leave earlier in bad weather. Drivers may have trouble seeing you, need extra stopping time, or may not be watching.
- Teach kids and teenagers at an early age to put away their devices and turn down their headphones when crossing the street so they can pay attention to traffic.
- Don’t talk to or ride with strangers. If you need HELP, go to the school or a business and ask for help.
When riding bicycles on city streets, please keep these safety tips in mind:
- Wear bright BRIGHT CLOTHING and a HELMET that fits and is adjusted properly; a bicycle ridden between sunset and sunrise must, by law, have operating front and rear lights, as well as a rear reflector.
- The bike should fit the rider; be able to sit on the seat and touch toes to the ground. Never carry passengers on the seat or handlebars of bicycles designed to carry one person.
- Ride a pre-determined daily route so parents know where you are, avoiding as many busy intersections as possible.
- Ride in the same direction as the traffic when possible and as far to the right as is safe.
- Pay extra attention at corners and at driveways for vehicles backing out. Drivers may not see you.
- Learn and obey all traffic rules and signs. STOP signs are for all vehicles, even bikes. If riding in the street, stop for school crossing guard stop signs and give the right-of-way to pedestrians.
- Walk your bike when crossing with a school crossing guard. Walking across helps avoid bumping into others and allows everyone to be more attentive and react to traffic hazards more quickly.
- Make sure your children who bike to school know and follow safe riding practices by setting a good example.
School zones present many dangers. Unfortunately, and often without realizing it, parents create the worst hazards of all. Most schools have between 12 and 15 minutes when hurried drivers converge upon schools double parking, blocking crosswalks, and backing up traffic. Bad weather creates additional problems, when even more parents choose to drive.
Driving through a school zone can be dangerous for both pedestrians and drivers if safety isn't a priority. Using cell phones or even changing a radio station can break concentration. It’s imperative that drivers operate their vehicles with the utmost care and concern and that we, as adults, use good judgment and set good examples. Drivers who do not obey the law around a school area put children’s lives at risk.
- Watch for bike traffic. When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch for children walking or biking to school.
- Drop off children 15 minutes earlier and pick them up 15 minutes later, before or after the “rush”. Or have a designated meeting place a block or two away from school. Get out of the house on time so you don’t need to rush.
- Buckle Up! Car seats and booster seats must be used until the lap and shoulder belts fit a child properly. See CDOT's website for more information. It is safest for everyone under 12 to ride in the back seat.
- Use a legal parking space for drop off and pickup; double parking or parking too close to corners is dangerous to your children and blocks visibility for other drivers. See Parking Enforcement for more information.
- Please be respectful to crossing guards; obey the 20 miles per hour school zone flashers where applicable. It is illegal to pass through a crossing guard’s stop sign while held up by a crossing guard in the street.
- Always have children exit onto the sidewalk side of the vehicle, not into traffic.
- Be a good role model, especially when you are with your kids. Always buckle up in the car and put your children in the age and weight appropriate safety device – it’s the LAW!
School Crossing Guards
City of Longmont paid school crossing guards are posted at various locations around town that have met the warrant. These traffic studies take into account the number of vehicles and kids crossing, as well as the width of the street and the speed limits. School provided adult crossing guards may be seen where there is a concern but the location does not currently meet the criteria for a City crossing guard.
Every school day, rain, snow, wind, or shine, these responsible adults show up to hold up traffic so that pedestrians are able to cross more safely. There are many dangerous challenges that crossing guards face daily:
- Avoid stopping in traffic before, in, or just after the crosswalk to unload or load kids. It not only endangers children exiting or entering the vehicle, but obstructs the view for other vehicles, pedestrians, and the crossing guard.
- Avoid parking too close to corners or driveways and blocking the view for drivers attempting to pull out; this causes drivers to take dangerous chances and increases the possibility of a crash. Learn more about parking regulations on our Parking Enforcement webpage.
- Avoid vehicles that double park block not only other traffic and create tension, but also block the view of the crosswalk to other drivers; it is illegal and it is dangerous.
- At some locations there is a “no left turn” sign when exiting the school driveway; these signs are posted to reduce traffic backup and increase safety for pedestrians.
- Turning traffic should not turn prematurely through a crossing guard’s stop sign so they can beat the other traffic.
- Parents jaywalk with their children (usually from between parked cars) set a bad example for everyone.
If the crossing guard's hand-held stop sign is up as he or she stands in the intersection, all drivers must avoid passing through that “leg” of the intersection until all pedestrians have passed and the guard has returned to the sidewalk. The City of Longmont has laws that assess double fines to drivers for traffic offenses in school zones compared with regular traffic zones since children are put at risk when the driver disregards school-related traffic laws.
Vehicles may, however, turn left or right if they are not crossing the “leg” of the intersection at which the guard is crossing traffic. An example: vehicles westbound on 17th Avenue may turn left onto Airport Road even when the Westview Middle School crossing guard is crossing kids on the west “leg” crosswalk, (because they are not going across the crosswalk). Westbound vehicles going straight at this location would have to wait.
Crossing guards are not allowed to direct traffic, nor are they trained to do so. Their job is to create a gap in traffic to allow pedestrians to cross the street safely and to encourage people to use the crosswalk and cross in a safe manner.
Become a School Crossing Guard
If you are interested in becoming a school crossing guard or a crossing guard substitute, or need more information on the crossing guard program, please contact Bob Ball.