Transportation Coordinator Launches “Operation Bright Light” 17 Oct 17

Something good has come from terrible tragedy.

It’s called “Operation Bright Light,” and it is the brain-child of Bemidji School District Transportation Coordinator, Greg Liedl, determined to make rural school bus children more visible following the death of a Thief River Falls child struck and killed in the confusion of a school bus stop last fall.

Liedl says the story of Anthony Fellman was so compelling, that it was decided to try something different at a Towards Zero Deaths conference in Bemidji last spring.

Yesterday, the Bemidji School District began distributing small, blinking reflectors that can be attached to backpacks or outerwear, to young children catching their school bus on high risk routes.

Liedl says they used routing software to identify children living along Minnesota Highways which are “extremely busy with traffic”.

Liedl says they identified 30 students that live along busy highways and Liedl says they started out with only 200 lights, part of an over-all, larger education effort, with Liedl commending parents who already equip their children with flash lights, bright orange vests and even lit tennis shoes on many of the stops in his district.

Transportation Director Ron Skallet says they are preparing to launch a similar effort, using the same vendor, next month in the Thief River Falls School District. Skallet says he’ll be meeting with his Transportation Committee following the MEA Break, to determine which students on which routes are best suited for the safety device, as the morning pick-up becomes seasonally darker each day.