Walking, cycling or taking a public transport…there are rules to follow to ensure safety.

Murali held Mani’s hand tight as they waited at the zebra crossing opposite the school in Gowrivakkam. “Ma has told me to look after him as he runs on the road,” he said serious faced. Obviously he took his job to heart, judging by the way Mani was wincing and struggling to free his hand.

And he had every reason to be. Drivers ignore the rules of the road as well as pedestrians. Combined with carelessness, they make accidents happen. This can be avoided if they remember and follow the rules of safety.

Even if you are walking to school, be familiar with the route you take. Leave early so that you have plenty of time to reach your destination. Then there is no need to run or hurry. Walking too has its own regulations that you need to keep in mind. Use the footpath or the pavement and see that you walk in the centre of it as cars that stop suddenly open doors and if you are on the edge you could get hurt. When there is heavy traffic or a turning, it is best to walk behind one another — in single file. While crossing the road make sure you do so only at a zebra crossing and never at places where the road curves. Use overhead bridges when you have to and never clamber over barriers or medians. Remember they have been put there for a purpose — for your safety.

Maheshwary, who accompanies her son Varun a student of Std. III at St. Anthony’s HSS in Chennai was concerned that children behave as they would in a playground when walking on the road.“Sometimes a friend on the other side of the road calls them and the ones on this side rush across the road.”

A few basic rules

Cycling can be fun but it is your responsibility to see that it is safe too. Check everyday if your cycle is in good shape — that the reflectors are clean and the brakes work. Make sure your uniform does not get caught in the wheels or pedal.

Carry your things in a bag, preferably a backpack.

Do not give even your best friend a “lift” on your cycle.

Many of us use public transport. Try to make it to the early bus. This ensures you a seat and not having to travel on the footboard. Dissuade your friends from traveling on the footboard of a bus.

Your bus behaviour counts too. Give your seat to the elderly, the sick and to those who need the seat more than you do. Jostling and pushing are absolute “no-nos” .

Travelling is an important part of our life, more so when it is to school or work. We have a duty to make it enjoyable and safe – for ourselves and others.