The new school year kicks off next week, and the East Grand Rapids Public Safety Department has tips for drivers and students to help ensure morning and afternoon commutes are safe and smooth for all.
“Students’ safety is a top priority for the department and East Grand Rapids Public Schools,” said EGR School/Community Liaison Officer Collin Wallace. “Because our community does not have a busing system, students walk, bike or get a ride to school, making it even more important for everyone on the roadways to practice safe biking, walking and driving habits.”
EGR Public Safety officers and school crossing guards are reminding parents, students, drivers and other pedestrians to keep these safety tips in mind this school year:
- Safety is a community effort — everyone must pay close attention to the road.
- If no crossing guard is present, always make eye contact with the pedestrian or driver to ensure you both know when it’s safe to cross the street.
- Walk bikes across the street rather than ride them and always wear a helmet.
- Ensure bikes are working properly prior to the first day of school.
- Obey the “no turn on right” signs at red lights during school hours and always use turn signals.
- Always cross at an intersection — it can be difficult for drivers to see pedestrians crossing elsewhere in the neighborhoods and through Gaslight Village due to street parking.
- Stay alert and off your phone. If you are listening to music, make sure that it is either at a level you can hear traffic or that you only have one earbud in.
- Do not continue driving until all pedestrians have safely reached the sidewalk.
- As it gets darker in the mornings and afternoons, pedestrians and bikers should wear reflective clothing/gear so they are easily visible to motorists.
- If you need to get somewhere quickly in the morning or mid-afternoon, avoid driving through East Grand Rapids entirely.
- Sun will impact east-bound drivers’ vision at the beginning of the school year and again in the spring — please exercise extra caution during these times.
- Respect crossing guard protocol — it may take a couple extra minutes, but it provides a safe commute for the students of EGR.
- Plan ahead by check eastgr.org/construction for all construction updates.
“The start of the new school year is the perfect opportunity to remind students, parents and drivers about these safety tips,” said Crossing Guard Supervisor Jean Timmer. “This is particularly important as we return to our routines after summer vacation and the past year of continuously changing schedules.”
A program run by the department Public Safety, the crossing guards work closely with both the City and EGRPS to help guide students. At the beginning of each year, the schools request which intersections they wish to have guards posted. A list of these stations can be found at eastgr.org/safety along with additional walking, biking and moped videos and safety tips.
Ensuring students have a safe commute to and from school is a top priority for both the City and EGRPS. Students are encouraged to talk with their crossing guards as well as Officer Wallace about these safety measures.
Anyone interested in becoming a crossing guard should call the department at 616.949.7010.