TFD talks pedestrian safety with young Tucsonans
Reporter: Stephani Ruiz
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It seems like it's not enough anymore to simply tell your kids to look both ways when they cross the street.
The Tucson Fire Department has been speaking at schools for awhile now about bike safety and wearing a helmet. But, with the rise in pedestrian accidents this past year, they've now added pedestrian safety to the course.
"I'm concerned especially with our neighborhood. I see many children just jetting out into the street, walking and with bicycles. And it's a hazard," Corbett Elementary Teacher Sheree Garcia said.
With growing concern for her students, she asked TFD to speak to the school about the rules of the road. Now for the second year, firefighters are teaching kids about safety on their bikes and walking down the street.
Ruiz asked kids if they felt nervous or wondered if cars would stop when crossing the street.
"Yeah, I feel nervous it's gonna go too fast," Sergio Fuentes said.
"Sometimes when I'm in the intersection and they're coming really fast I hope they slow down, because we can go and it's red for them," Erica McClure said.
Instructors tell 9 On Your Side the bike rodeo teaches kids like Fuentes and McClure simple, but lifesaving tips.
As they make their way through the course, kids are taught to look both ways, watch the signals and stop on red. They practice hand signs while riding bikes.
TFD also teaches kids to make eye contact with the driver when walking across the street and only cross at a corner or crosswalk.
Ruiz asked Instructor Mandy Hart how important it is to instill these lessons to the youngest Tucsonans.
"It's absolutely critical. Not only are we teaching the kids, but we're telling them don't forget this, go home and tell this to your family. If you've got siblings, be an example, be that role model," Hart said.
McClure said she planned to share those lessons after school.
"I'm gonna tell my family that I learned how to make the signs and next time we go out I'm gonna use the signs and look both ways when I cross the street," McClure said.
TFD also passes out coloring books and brochures outlining safety tips for the various types of crosswalks and traffic lights throughout the community.
If a school or organization is interested in TFD teaching this course, contact the fire department at 991-7907.