There are so many great things about summertime in Spokane: longer days and playing outside at the local parks and pools. It’s also a good time to remind drivers to keep an eye out for our little ones, yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and to remind all of us about pedestrian and bicycle safety. Many serious injury accidents between vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles happen in the summer as more of us are outside using our roadways.

All drivers get into habits and we aren’t used to kids playing outdoors during school hours. When school is out, kids will be playing outside all day long. You might be driving down a residential street and see a child run out in front of you chasing a ball or remote-control car. Slowing down, sometimes well below the speed limit and increasing your caution level when you see kids nearby is always a good idea.

For about a decade or so Spokane Police have operated Pedestrian Emphasis Patrols to raise to raise safety awareness for both kids and adults crossing busy streets. Drivers must stop for pedestrians from the moment they stop off the curb and certainly for those already crossing the street. Getting a ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian is nothing compared to causing a serious injury accident.

Kids and families walking or riding bikes can help protect their own safety, too. Pedestrians should always use sidewalks or, if there’s no sidewalk, they should walk facing oncoming traffic. Bicyclists should follow all traffic laws including riding on the right side of the street and observing all stop and yield signs. Wearing bright reflective clothing and using a flashlight near dusk will also improve visibility.

Summer break in Spokane means more kids and pedestrians out enjoying all the wonderful outdoor activities our beautiful city has to offer. Let’s work together to make sure our kids have a fun and safe summer break!