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Back to School Month

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School is Starting! Look out for Pedestrians and Bicyclists!

About 50 million students attend America’s public elementary and secondary schools. Over 35 million are in pre-kindergarten through 8th grade. Most have been on summer break and will be heading back to school in the coming weeks. Kids will be commuting to school on foot, by bicycle and by school bus or private vehicles. School buses are the safest way for children to commute to and from school. Yet, nearly two-thirds of school-age pedestrians fatally-injured in school transportation-related crashes are struck when getting on or off a school bus – either by the bus (62%) or other vehicles (38%). So all drivers need to be extra careful in proximity to school buses and parents need to teach children how to safely board and exit a bus.


Parents should also impress upon their children that they should always look both ways (left-right-left) before crossing any street. And, of course, those children riding bicycles should wear a properly-sized, well-fitted bike helmet. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) website offers many more tips for parents to help their children travel safely to and from school.

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River to Sea TPO Bicycle & Pedestrian

School Safety Review Studies

Over the past 16 years, the River to Sea TPO has completed bicycle and pedestrian school safety review studies for all public elementary and middle schools in Volusia and Flagler Counties. The purpose of these studies is to make recommendations for projects that will improve conditions within the two mile walk zones for these schools, and potentially make walking and biking to school a more attractive mode of transportation for students. Each of the studies identified the schools' concerns, documented the observed pedestrian and bicycle circulation routes adjacent to the schools' sites and then made recommendations for improvements.


The assessments included the two mile walk zones surrounding the schools and evaluated safety issues that affected students walking or bicycling to school. Another goal of the assessment reports was to continue the coordination among the stakeholders to implement the recommendations of these studies. In FY 2021/22, the River to Sea TPO will be looking at undertaking school safety studies for additional selected schools within the TPO's planning area.

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Do you know the laws on when to stop for a school bus?


According to Florida Statute §316.172, vehicles must stop when approaching any school bus that displays the stop signal and has its red lights flashing. This requirement applies to vehicles moving in either direction as follows:


On a two-lane roadway:

  • all vehicles travelling in both directions are required to come to a complete stop and remain stopped while the school bus stop signal is displayed and the red lights are flashing. 

On a multi-lane roadway (paved across):

  • all vehicles travelling in both directions are required to come to a complete stop and remain stopped while the school bus stop signal is displayed and the red lights are flashing.

On a divided roadway with a raised barrier or unpaved space of at least five feet:

  • all vehicles travelling in the same direction as the school bus are required to come to a complete stop and remain stopped while the school bus stop signal is displayed and the red lights are flashing. 
  • vehicles travelling in the opposite direction of the school bus should slow down and proceed with caution when approaching a school bus with its stop signal displayed and its red lights flashing. 

At all times, drivers should watch for and be aware of children at bus stops who may suddenly dart out into or across roadways.

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The Walking School Bus Program

A walking school bus (WSB) is a group of children walking to and/or from school under adult supervision, which provides physical activity, teaches pedestrian safety skills, and provides supervision to help reduce concerns about children traveling to and/or from school. With increasing school transportation budget cuts, many districts are eliminating courtesy bussing. As a result, the number of students walking and bicycling to and/or from school and those driven by their parents has been steadily increasing. To help reduce traffic congestion around schools, walking school buses offer a practical travel option for those living near schools. Many different types of walking school buses have been successful, and each school’s WSB program may differ depending on the neighborhood, volunteers, traffic, and school policies. More information on the walking school bus can be found at the following links: Walking School Bus and Walking School Bus Guide

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Bicycle/Pedestrian Safety Outreach on SR A1A

The River to Sea TPO will be partnering with FDOT, Volusia County, Volusia County Sheriff's Office and the city of Ormond Beach in August (dates TBD) to conduct bicycle & pedestrian safety education & outreach on SR A1A at Andy Romano Beachfront Park in Ormond Beach and Sun Splash Park in Daytona Beach. Additional details to follow.

A Conversation with FDOT's Stephanie Moss, CPM, PMP, Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator

The FDOT has a new Office of Safety which led by Loreen Bobo, Safety Administrator. Stephanie Moss is a part of the new office which is charged with doing whatever is takes to get to Vision Zero and breaking down silos both internally and externally; and doing more to work together with other agencies.

This new office comes from FDOT's Secretary Thibault's Vital Few Initiatives which include:

  1. Improve Safety
  2. Inspire Innovation
  3. Enhance Mobility

When asked what the focus area of the new Office of Safety will be Stephanie explained that they will be included in every project to ensure that nothing is missed in terms of safety for all users. She explained that all stakeholders are doing great things and they want to find ways to harmonize so we can have a stronger impact together.

Some plans they will be looking at in the near future to increase bicycle and pedestrian safety will be lower speed limits and separated bicycle facilities.

Stephanie explained that one of the new things they are doing is asking the public to share their safety ideas, no matter how big or small. If you have an idea to share, please share it via email at:

D5-safetyideas@dot.state.fl.us.

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