Be careful no matter how you decide to travel

Monday, August 15, 2016

Local athletes, family and friends got together for a touching tribute run Saturday to honor Michelle Walters, tragically killed during the bicycle portion of a Boulder Ironman triathlon a week earlier.

It was an appropriate way to remember a young fitness enthusiast taking part in only the latest challenge she took on with determination.

Over the weekend, a pair of bicyclists were struck by a car and injured at the Kool -Aid Days celebration in Hastings, and a Lincoln woman died after being struck by a bicyclist while she was participating in a cleanup effort along that city's bicycle trail.

You won't find many Nebraska cities that are more bicycle-friendly than Lincoln, but that accident and others illustrate just how all of us -- cyclists, drivers and pedestrians -- need to be while we are traveling streets and highways.

That's especially true with the start of school, with inexperienced riders making their way to class.

A new twist in recent years is the rapid spread of cellphones and other electronic devices that provide distractions for travelers using whatever means.

Turn them off as soon as you get in your car, and keep at least one ear open when you're walking, running or cycling.

AAA Nebraska reminds drivers that speeding fines are doubled in school zones, and variable speed signs post lower limits during certain hours when children are typically present.

Always stop for loading or unloading school busses, and it's unlawful to fail to stop when approaching or overtaking a school bus which has stop lights on and the stop arm extended.

Always come to a complete stop at intersections, checking carefully for children walking or riding bicycles.

Research shows that more than a third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods, according to AAA.

Nebraska law requires all children up to age six to ride correctly secured in a child safety seat or booster seat.

Due to the dangers of airbag deployment, children should ride in the back seat, safely secured until they are at least 13 years old.

If there are no seating alternative and a child must ride in the front seat, position the passenger seat back away from the dashboard airbag system before securing the child in the appropriate safety restraint system.

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