New Albany is extending a portion of the New Albany-Plain Local School District school zone and evaluating school zones throughout the campus after two student bicycling incidents with vehicles occurred within a day of each other.

CORRECTION: In the caption of this story, Zach Jones is pictured on the right. Because of an editing error, the print and earlier online version said he was on the left. 

New Albany is extending a portion of the New Albany-Plain Local School District school zone and evaluating school zones throughout the campus after two student bicycling incidents with vehicles occurred within a day of each other.

In both incidents, which took place about a quarter of a mile from each other, the motor vehicles were traveling 5 mph or less, said city spokesman Scott McAfee. Neither child was injured.

"This is not an everyday occurrence," he said.

According to a New Albany Police Department report, at 7:46 a.m. Sept. 19 at Kardules Fields Way, a student fell off her bike after being struck on the back tire by a motor vehicle turning left from state Route 605 onto Kardules Fields.

The student was examined by the New Albany Middle School nurse and was believed to be OK, according to the report.

The person who hit the student on the bike was a minor and is expected to enter a court-ordered diversion program, McAfee said.

A day after that incident, a motor vehicle brushed the back tire of a student's bike as the student was using the crosswalk at Route 605 at the intersection with Walton Parkway, McAfee said.

That incident, which also occurred in the morning, was not documented in a police report, although the city was made aware of it, he said.

After the incidents, the city installed stop signs on the leisure trail at the intersection with Kardules Fields, adjacent to the school campus, said Mike Barker, New Albany city engineer. The signs were added to help alert bicyclists to stop at the roadway, which the school district uses for bus traffic, he said.

Additionally, the city decided to move the boundaries of the school zone by approximately 500 feet north along Route 605, so Kardules Fields will be within the school zone, Barker said.

The city will add striping on the pavement and signs within the year, he said. A sign with flashing lights won't be added until 2020.

School-zone speeds are 20 mph, Barker said.

The city also is working with a traffic engineer to evaluate all school zones throughout the campus to inventory current conditions and determine whether updated signs or other improvements are needed, Barker said. The report is expected to be completed within the next four to six weeks, he said.

The two cyclists in the incidents are among a large group of children who ride bicycles to school.

An estimated 125 of the district's 5,050 students ride bikes during fair weather, said Patrick Gallaway, district spokesman. Parents also often ride to and from school with younger students, he said.

When the incidents occurred, the district alerted the students' families about what had happened and that their children were safe, Gallaway said. The message also reinforced the importance of being aware.

District officials also reminded parents and students about the city's helmet law for youth cyclistsand that helmets are recommended -- although the law does not require them -- when riding skateboards, Gallaway said.

Helmets are mandatory for all minors, and younger children and parents could be issued a ticket after multiple offenses, McAfee said.

The week after the incidents, the district shared a video about bike safety on its Newswire, Gallaway said.

"Principals have also made announcements to students to reinforce bike safety," he said.

Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians need to be alert when traveling, especially during school hours, McAfee said.

"It's the responsibility of both parties," he said.

Vehicles also should be driven slowly in and near school zones, he said.

"Your children are irreplaceable," he said.

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