Simplified: Sioux Falls kids head back to school this week, which means more pedestrians, more kids on bikes and, of course, more school buses. Here's what you need to know about the rules of the road and how to stay safe during back-to-school season.
Why it matters
- Tens of thousands of kids head back to school this week, and many of them rely on buses, walking or biking to get there.
- It's important for motorists to know the rules of the road when it comes to bus safety, especially, not only because it'll save you a ticket, but also because it'll help keeps kids safe.
"We have not really had any big issues with cars and kids, thankfully," Sioux Falls police spokesman Sam Clemens said. "But we want to keep it that way."
Here's your reminder on school bus rules
There are two main scenarios you'll encounter with school buses on the road: flashing yellow lights and flashing red lights.
When the lights are flashing yellow, you can drive past a school bus, regardless of which direction it is traveling. Just, ya know, go slowly.
When the lights are flashing red: you must always stop if you're going the same direction as the school bus, and in many cases, you'll also stop if you're going the opposite direction as the bus.
- On bigger streets, with more than two lanes of travel – i.e. Cliff Avenue, 41st Street, Minnesota Avenue, 57th Street – you do not have to stop for a school bus with flashing red lights if you're traveling in the opposite direction of the bus. So if you're going north on Minnesota Avenue and a bus is stopped in a southbound lane, you can keep going. If you're also in a southbound lane, you must stop.
- On smaller streets, – i.e. most residential roads – you must stop for a bus with flashing red lights regardless of what direction you're traveling.
If you fail to stop for a bus, you risk getting a ticket because that's a class two misdemeanor.
What about kids on sidewalks?
Don't hit them.
Watch out for kids crossing streets throughout the city, but especially near schools. Be extra aware, especially when you're turning.
Will the police be out writing tickets?
Clemens said the police department will have officers at every single school in Sioux Falls at some point in time as school starts this week.
- The department will also have some additional officers around schools, especially those on bigger roads, to encourage drivers to slow down.
"Typically when they see a police car, that'll remind them they need to slow down," Clemens said.