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Editorial: This accident can be a useful reminder

Serious injuries earlier this month to a 12-year-old boy after being hit and then run over by a River Falls school bus is another reminder for both local drivers and pedestrians to be extra careful, especially now that school is in session.

In the above-mentioned incident, a school bus driver appeared to have the green arrow to make his turn at the Main Street/Cascade Avenue intersection. The boy was walking in the crosswalk when the collision occurred. Neither apparently saw the other until it was too late.

On weekdays now through May, younger kids and college students will be crossing our streets often. Drivers must be watchful, whether at intersections with crosswalks or in the middle of a block.

No matter who is in the right, use caution when you see a person of any age trying to get across the street.

Pedestrians have the same responsibility. They shouldn't be stepping in front of busy traffic, and they need to be looking both ways when they cross -- even in a crosswalk. The key for both driver and pedestrian is being alert and aware of the other.

River Falls Police Chief Roger Leque also urges drivers and pedestrians to simply "be patient." Don't take chances. Try not to rush.

Leque also says that drivers should do everything possible to avoid distractions -- whether from handling a cell phone to mishaps like a spilled coffee or other beverage. For that spilled coffee, try not to take your eyes off the road to deal with it. Wait until you can safely pull over to the side and stop.

Here are some general reminders for parents to pass along to their children:

--Know and obey all traffic signals and markings, including when there is a "walk" indicator at a green traffic light and when there is a "turn" indicator at a green light for autos and buses.

--Don't enter the street between parked cars or from behind brushes or shrubs. Statistics show that darting into the street like this accounts for 50-70% of pedestrian injuries for kids age 9 and under.

--Before crossing where there are moving vehicles, make sure to look to the left, then to the right, and then left again before starting across.

--In bad weather, pedestrians are even harder to spot, especially children who are shorter. This is when kids out walking need to more alert than ever.

--As both a driver and a pedestrian, be a consistent role model for children who are with you. Don't tell them one thing but do another.

Online Poll: Cascade fix: Not a biggie

The Journal's online poll question this week asked: Cascade Avenue closed for reconstruction in April and should reopen in a month. Has the closing inconvenienced your travel? Early results:

--No, hardly at all, 45%

--Only somewhat, 30%

--Yes, a great deal, 25%

To vote and catch the latest local news, please visit our website at River Falls Journal