Back-To-School 2015 : Motorist Edition – Study Guide for Driving Safe Around Schools In Bellevue

Written by Andrew Kyrios, NTSS Intern

You know how some people think summer break causes kids to forget everything they learned the previous school year? The same may be said of drivers: summer vacation may also cause drivers to forget their school-related traffic laws. With another school year starting, school buses will be running, beacons will be flashing, and kids will be walking to school again. Here’s a review guide to remind you of safe driving around elementary schools in Bellevue.

School Zones

All elementary schools in Bellevue have established school zones, in which during certain hours of the day, the speed limit is reduced to 20 MPH and drivers should be extra cautious for children. Traffic tickets and fines are doubled in a school zone, so for the sake of the children (and your wallet), please drive safely. School zones follow a specific schedule, but for a basic understanding, remember school zones hours are in effect around the start and dismissal times during school days. Signs are posted around elementary schools to remind drivers that they are within a school zone, and the majority of elementary schools have flashing beacons which blink during the exact school zone hours.

Flashing beacons in effect outside Eastgate Elementary School.

Flashing beacons in effect outside Eastgate Elementary School.

General Guidelines for School Zone Flashing Beacons in Bellevue

  • Flashing starts 30 minutes before until 10 minutes after arrival bell.
  • Schools with breakfast program: Flashing starts 10 minutes before service.
  • Flashing starts 10 minutes before until 30 minutes after dismissal bell.
  • Do not flash during school holidays.
A sign indicating the end of a school zone.

A sign indicating the end of a school zone.

A school zone sign close by to Ardmore Elementary School. Although the sign doesn’t have beacons, equivalent rules apply.

A school zone sign close by to Ardmore Elementary School. Although the sign does not have beacons, equivalent rules apply.


Crosswalks

Crosswalks are abundant around schools, so stay alert for kids walking and biking across them. Often, crosswalks will have adult and student crossing guards.

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A sign warning motorists of an approaching crosswalk, followed by a sign signifying the actual crosswalk.

School crosswalks are identified by a different signing than standard crosswalks. The five-sided sign is used to warn approaching road users of a crossing where school children cross the roadway.

Up-close school crosswalk sign near Clyde Hill Elementary School/

A school crosswalk sign near Clyde Hill Elementary School.

An adult crossing guard directing traffic across West Lake Sammamish Parkway to Sunset Elementary School.

An adult crossing guard directing traffic across West Lake Sammamish Parkway to Sunset Elementary School.

Student crossing guards working an intersection next to Newport Heights Elementary School

Student crossing guards working an intersection next to Newport Heights Elementary School.


School Buses

School buses will be back on the road and they have special rules compared to Metro buses. If you are going the same direction as the school bus, you have to stop when the bus’s stop sign is extended and the red flashing lights go off. Preceding yellow flashing lights will notify motorists the bus is about to stop. If you are driving in the opposite direction, you must stop if you are on a two-lane road, but not three or more. If the road is divided by a physical barrier, you do not have to stop if driving in the opposite direction.

A school bus picking up Spiritridge Elementary School students. Since the road is only two lanes, cars in neither direction are allowed to pass the school bus.

A school bus picking up Spiritridge Elementary School students. Since the road is only two lanes and not separated by a barrier, cars in both lanes must stop.

 


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