Other than a few weeks back in June, motorists haven’t had to pay much attention to school zones since early in the pandemic.
That has to change in a hurry as classes are back in session and students are around and about schools once again.
Daily routines and life in general can get busier at this time of year, and sometimes we can find ourselves in more of a rush in the mornings and at the end of the work day. Hopefully, we can commute quickly without having to sacrifice any care and caution.
The Nanaimo RCMP sent out a public service announcement last week targeted toward motorists, reminding them that school zones are back in effect.
Police say it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep children safe and parents and teachers are encouraged to remind children to stay alert and leave devices alone when walking or cycling. Police also recommend that children “dress to be seen” in bright clothing.
RCMP say every year in B.C., dozens of children and teenagers are injured in motor vehicle incidents that happen in school zones or nearby, or close to playgrounds.
“One injured child is too many. One of the objectives of the Nanaimo RCMP detachment, supported through the enforcement efforts of the Municipal Traffic Unit and patrol officers, is to ensure all children arrive safely at school,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in a release.
School speed zones of 30 kilometres per hour are in effect Monday to Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., on days when school is in session. Playground speed zones are in effect dawn till dusk year round.
Motorists must stop for school buses when children are exiting or boarding and the vehicle’s red flashing lights are displayed. The rule applies for vehicles behind the bus or approaching in the opposite direction.
Students should only cross at designated intersections when it is safe to do so and RCMP say it’s important that children make eye contact with approaching drivers and cross only when they see that the vehicle is coming to a stop. Students who ride their bike should dismount and walk it across the crosswalk.
Police also advise parents to ensure that their children’s backpacks fit and do not restrict movement.
Also, parents are asked to remind children not to approach any unknown vehicle or accept rides from strangers.
Anyone with questions or concerns about the traffic safety is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP’s non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.