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Did You Know?

Half of school children walked or biked to school in 1969, but only 13 percent were doing it in 2009.

Nominate your favorite crossing guard

They keep children and adults safe in some of the most dangerous streets and intersections, and now there’s a chance to thank your favorite crossing guard – by nominating her or him in the comment section below.

The nominations honor Crossing Guard Appreciation Day, May 5, 2009, which celebrates and thanks the important work of crossing guards in helping make bicycling and walking easy and safe in our communities.

Here are five more ways you can appreciate your crossing guards every day:

1) Say thank you! Crossing guards put their lives on the line daily to protect us, our children, older adults and people with disabilities. A simple 'thanks' can go a long way toward acknowledging their dedication and making them feel appreciated.

2) Respect their authority. Crossing guards work hard to create the needed gaps in traffic to provide safe opportunities for people to cross the street. Make their jobs easier by following their lead – wait when asked to wait, and don't dally when directed to cross.

3) Stop for pedestrians. When we obey speed limits, stop signs and traffic signals, we protect the lives of our crossing guards and those they assist. When driving or biking, stop completely for crossing guards and pedestrians in crosswalks. Stop with plenty of room – at least one car-length away. Don't breeze by (in your car or on your bike) when a crossing guard is stepping into traffic. Trying to hurry past will only put people crossing at risk.

4) Hang up the phone. Crossing a busy street can be a complex situation, requiring all of our attention. If you need to talk or text, don't do it while crossing a street on foot, and NEVER use a phone while driving or biking.

5) Advocate for their work. Depending upon your community, crossing guard programs may be supported through a police department, a school district or general municipal funds. Let your local officials know how important crossing guards are in your community by speaking up at public meetings or writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.