Traveling to School Safely

As we welcome students, teachers, staff and families back to school, we would like to remind you to keep the following safety tips in mind regardless of how you travel to school.  

 Tips for students who walk to school:

  • Plan a safe direct route and practice it together before school starts
  • Stay alert and look around continuously to stay aware of what is around you
  • Cross major intersections where the Crossing Guards are or where there is a crossing signal
  • Always listen to and obey all crossing guard directions
  • Always remember to stop a safe distance away from the curb, then look and listen for traffic.
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing - be sure the drivers see you.
  • When walking in low light conditions including rain, make sure you can be seen. Wear reflective, bright or light colored clothing.
  • Always walk on the sidewalk or where there are no sidewalks, walk on the left-hand side of the street
  • Walk carefully. No running or horseplay while crossing the street
  • Do not text while walking or crossing a cross walk
  • Walk with other students – create a buddy system.  If possible, parents should walk with younger children.  
  • Students should not take shortcuts or cut through alleys or across vacant lots
  • Parents and neighbors should turn on porch lights and other outdoor lights before dawn and at dusk.  
  • Students should be on time, everyday.

Northampton Public Schools has employed crossing guards at the following intersections:

  • Jackson Street & Barrett Street
  • Florence Street and Leeds
  • Prospect Street & Massasiot Street
  • Florence Street & Arch Street
  • Bridge Street & Hawley Street
  • Parson Street & Union Street
  • Bridge Street near Pomeroy Terrace
  • Brookside Circle & Deerfield Drive
  • JFK Middle School
  • Mulberry Street & Main Street
  • Ryan Road & Matthew Drive

Tips for motorists:

  • Never pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. It is illegal in all 50 states. Also, never pass a school bus on the right -- it is illegal and dangerous.
  • If you are traveling in the same direction as a stopped school bus, you must stop as well.
  • Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to pickup or drop off children. If you are driving, slow down and prepare to stop. Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm indicate that the bus is stopped, and that children are getting on or off. This, of course, means that you have to stop as well.
  • When waiting with your own child, teach them to wait until the stop arm is fully extended and the bus door opens before moving toward the bus.
  • The area ten feet around a school bus is at the highest risk for child being hit, so stop your car further than that to allow space for children to enter or exit. Most states have distance requirements, and they may be much further away than you may think.
  • When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school. Better yet, walk around your car or out to the sidewalk to check for any children walking in your path before you get in.
  • Be aware that roads that pass near the school may have slower speed limits during arrival and dismissal times than during non-school hours and that those limits are often more strictly enforced.
  • Drive slowly and watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks. Also be aware of children playing or waiting around bus stops.
  • Stop for Pedestrians in all crosswalks.
  • Be alert and aware on the road. While children are typically taught about looking both ways, they could dart into the street without looking if they are late or distracted.  Remember that children are unpredictable in their actions.

Tips for bicyclists:

  • Practice biking to school on the safest route with an adult prior to the start of the school year
  • Always wear a properly fitted helmet
  • Stay alert and look around continuously to stay aware of what is around you
  • Obey the rules of the road; the rules are the same for all vehicles, including bicycles
  • Stay on the right-hand side of the road and ride in the same direction as traffic
  • Know and use appropriate hand signals
  • Wear light colored or bright colored clothing so you can be seen
  • Do not allow someone to ride as a passenger on your bike
  • Make sure your bike is in good working condition - check brakes, tires, bike chain, seat adjustment and reflectors
  • If walking through parked vehicles, stop and look carefully before stepping out from between vehicles. Don’t run between parked cars and buses.
  • Always walk your bicycle across a crosswalk when one is available