Road safety guidelines for volunteers Road safety guidelines for volunteers

Basic road safety rules and guidelines for conducting (leading) a Walking School Bus.

Log a hazard

If you have ongoing problems, like footpaths being blocked or damaged, please contact us to report them

Walking School Bus 'drivers' and 'conductors' safety information

  • A ratio of eight children to one adult is recommended.
  • Point out to all children the danger when crossing driveways (as vehicles reversing may not easily see small children).
  • The bus route will have been planned and risk assessed. You must stick to the agreed route at all times. Any changes to the route will need to be assessed and approved.
  • If the footpath is obstructed because of a temporary blockage, eg road works or parked vehicles, the adults should divert the Walking School Bus accordingly.
  • Drivers and conductors must stay with the group on the authorised route. They must take care when children join and leave the bus.
  • Drivers and conductors must let newcomers know about expected behaviour, reminding children to listen and obey instructions, especially in regard to stopping and crossing the road. See Children's responsibilities.

Crossing roads

Steps for crossing roads safely

  1. When you are ready to cross the road, choose a safe crossing place away from parked cars, corners, junctions or any other hazards.
  2. Gather the children around you away from the kerb until it is safe to cross. It is safer to cross in a bunch, eg two rows of four abreast, rather than stretched out in pairs.
  3. Walk across the road, looking and listening as you go.
  4. When you have crossed safely, reform the children away from the roadside and carry on with your journey.

Note: Walking School Bus 'drivers' do not have the authority to stop traffic in order to cross roads.

If a car stops to allow the group to cross it is vital that you check that other traffic is aware of what is happening. There is the danger of other cars overtaking the stationary vehicle. For this reason, it is safer to wave the vehicles on and cross when the road is clear.

Remember, in bad weather it will take drivers longer to stop and it is more difficult for you to be seen.

Extra care should be taken if you are wearing a hooded coat or using an umbrella as they can obscure your hearing and vision.

At a pedestrian crossing

Wait until all traffic has stopped before crossing the road. It is always good to make eye contact with drivers before stepping off the footpath. Keep looking and listening the entire time you are crossing.

At a pedestrian refuge

You don’t want to overload the safe waiting area between the two islands, so it is recommended that you cross the children in smaller groups. An adult must stay with each group.

Watch our short video clip about crossing at a pedestrian refuge.

At traffic lights

Make sure the children are assembled in an orderly group (ie four abreast) before the button is pressed. Cross when the green man is visible. Do not enter the crossing when the red man is flashing.

At school patrol crossings

If there are school crossings on your route then you must use them.

Children's responsibilities

Children must walk along the footpath and:

  • listen to the Walking School Bus driver,
  • stop, look and listen when crossing the road,
  • walk behind the driver but keep up with the group,
  • stay on the house side of the footpath,
  • walk, do not run,
  • share the footpath with others.

Watch our short video clip on how to walk on a Walking School Bus.

Parent/caregiver responsibilities

  • It is important that you discuss and explain the Walking School Bus pledge with your children before you both sign it.
  • You are responsible for your children's safety to and from the designated 'bus stops' and for seeing your children safely on and off the bus.

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