Back to School Safety Tips
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Back to School Safety Tips

With school in session, there will be significantly more traffic in and around school areas. Pedestrians, bicyclists, buses and cars all contribute to school zone congestion. In addition, children do not always follow the rules of the road. Often they enter the street from between two cars, attempt to "run" red lights with their bikes through intersections, and skateboard or walk into traffic without checking. Some parents cross the street wherever they park, instead of walking to the corner.

Motorists must exercise increased awareness in and around a school zone. When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch for children traveling to school. Children are unpredictable in their actions, and it is YOUR responsibility to anticipate and prepare to react to what they do. There are also lots of parked cars near schools and even adults are hard for motorists to see when they walk between cars. Potential hazards are much easier to see and react to when driving at or below the school zone speed limit of 20 mph. Slow down, stop to allow pedestrians to cross the street, and look for children who may run into the street.

Special attention must also be paid to buses displaying flashing red lights when on an undivided two-lane roadway. In these instances, motorists are required to stop and wait until the flashing red lights are turned off before passing a bus.

Here are some simple hints to make going to school safer for all involved:


  • BE ALERT! Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street and not be looking for other cars.
  • Don't speed
  • Watch for children playing and gathering near school bus stops
  • Don't double park
  • Don't block intersections or driveways if you park your vehicle
  • Don't make U-turns
  • Don't allow children to be unbuckled when transporting them
  • Learn the flashing light system that school bus drivers use to alert you that they are stopping.
    • Yellow flashing lights- the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists need to slow down and prepare to stop.
    • Red flashing lights- the bus is stopped and an arm extends to allow for children to board or exit the bus. Motorists must stop at least ten feet from the front or rear of the school bus and not proceed until such school bus resumes motion, or until signaled by a school bus driver to proceed

Pedestrians and Cyclists:

  • Always watch for other traffic around you, and be courteous towards all road users
  • Obey all traffic control signs and signals
  • Ride in a predictable manner, on the right side of the road, with the flow of traffic
  • Walk facing traffic
  • Wear bright colored clothing and/or retro-reflective material to increase visibility
  • Look in all directions to ensure safety before entering or crossing a roadway.

Helpful tips to share with children about traveling to/from school:

  • Walk with a friend
  • Walk across the Street, don't run
  • Don't jaywalk. Cross streets at the corner
  • Use crosswalks
  • Cross with the green/walk light
  • Stop, look and listen carefully before crossing
  • Cross with crossing guards
  • Do not ride your bike across a street; get off the bike and walk it across the street
  • Wear a helmet when on a bike


Its "Back-to-School" time, and as a result, there will be more traffic around the school buildings. In the morning, students are usually driven to school and dropped off at various locations designated by the school and city officials. Most of the time, the drivers leave the area immediately. Add to that the fact some drivers have to drop off a student at one school and drive across town to drop off another student.

In the afternoon, a special situation arises which may cause a serious safety hazard. Most drivers try to arrive early and park as close to the school exits as possible so the student does not have far to walk. You can imagine the traffic problems that will be created when 50-100 vehicles try to pick-up students, all within the same 20-minute window.

The following tips, rules and regulations are published to assist the driver in safely discharging and picking-up students at the Foster City schools.

  • White painted curbs mean no stopping, standing or parking for any purpose other than loading or unloading of passengers.
  • In some situations, such as around Foster City Elementary School, there are further restrictions, such as no parking or unattended vehicles.
  • Red painted curbs mean no stopping, standing or parking at any time.
  • In order to maintain a safe environment for the students, it is important that vehicles stop with the right-hand wheels parallel and within 18" of the right-hand curb prior to the actual discharge or pick up of a student.
  • Do not stop in the roadway since you will create a traffic hazard.
  • At a time when there is a lot of vehicular and pedestrian traffic, making a u-turn is not advisable, and may even be illegal. Better to drive around the block or determine a different approach to the school.
  • Many of the schools have restricted their parking lots as "no drop-off or pick-up" zones.
  • Other schools have requested that drop-off and pick-up be done in the school parking lot. Please honor these restrictions and requests.
  • If you have to contact a teacher or conduct business with the school office, do not park in the white zones.

The parking restrictions are strictly enforced around the schools to provide a safe and convenient location for the dropping off and picking up of students. Drivers who violate the parking restrictions may be subject to citation.

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City Hall - 610 Foster City Blvd.
Foster City, CA 94404
(650) 286-3200