SAFE Lexington helps prepare students for a safe back-to-school

Pedestrian safety top of mind as kids head back to school

LEXINGTON, S.C. (WIS) - As kids prepare to head back to school, the group SAFE Lexington hosted a safety panel discussion on the importance of sharing the roads.

The meeting Sunday at Mt. Horeb Church in Lexington attracted about 85 people.

SAFE wanted to refresh people on laws related to pedestrian and cyclist safety, to help keep students and others safe.

The group formed after the deaths of two runners in the Lexington community. John Flanagan was killed while running in 2017, and Diane Wells was killed while running in 2018.

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Speakers from SAFE, Lexington County School District One and South Carolina Highway Patrol addressed the meeting.

“We’re going to see a lot more traffic in the mornings, afternoon, and a lot more students coming to and from school," Trooper David Jones, with Highway Patrol, said. "So when we see those students, or when we see student athletes walking around school, it’s very important for motorists to adhere to those school speed limit zones.”

Topics discussed in the panel included traffic laws for drivers and pedestrians, walking to and from the bus stop, keeping student athletes safe, and best practices for runners and cyclists.

“We all learned them [the laws] a while ago, but a lot of times what we see out on the roads and what kind of becomes habit is not necessarily what’s the right thing or the best thing,” Bridgett Winston, SAFE Lexington member, said. “We hope people will be a reminder to be courteous and friendly as they’re driving as they are cycling, walking or running. You know our motto is our streets are for everyone and just to remember that we’re all out there and we all want to get where we’re going safely.”

Sabrina Metz, a mother of two student athletes, attended Sunday’s meeting.

“We’re a family of runners and I lost a good friend in December due to an accident," Metz said. "[I’m] really just trying to raise awareness.”

That’s awareness that Sam Oxley, the Lexington High School Assistant Cross Country Coach and one of the panel speakers, enforces at every practice.

“Safety rules we try to enforce with our runners -- stay to the left, run towards traffic, but to the left of that white line, try to get off the roadway as much as you can, wear visible clothing, brightly colored visible clothing, run single file,” Oxley explained.

Another topic discussed was bus safety and information on when drivers have a responsibility to stop for a school bus.

According to Highway Patrol, on a two- or three-lane road, drivers traveling in both directions must stop for a school bus with flashing lights.

On roads with four or more lanes, drivers approaching a stopped school bus from the opposite direction do not have to stop.

The law for two, three, or four-lane roads are the same whether there is a median or not.

Those caught breaking the law and not stopping for the bus will have to pay a hefty fine.

The following are the minimum fines for passing a stopped school bus:

  • 1st offense: $500
  • 2nd offense: $2,000

Committee members from SAFE Lexington say they hope this discussion will bring greater awareness about the rules of the road.

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