After one last hurrah this long weekend, summer fun will make way for back-to-school.
School is back in session in Nanaimo and Ladysmith starting Tuesday, Sept. 6, and that means more children will be out walking and riding their bikes on Nanaimo streets and sidewalks.
ICBC issued safety reminders this week in an effort to keep more B.C. kids safe this September. According to the insurance corporation, one child aged 5-18 is injured in a collision with a vehicle every day, on average, in British Columbia. On Vancouver Island, on average, two children walking or cycling are killed in crashes every year and one is injured every week. In school and playground zones, nine children are injured in collisions every year.
Motorists are reminded that 30-kilometres-per-hour speed limits are in effect in school zones every school day from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and in playground zones, the 30km/h speed limits must be observed from dawn to dusk.
Unfortunately, too many drivers still can’t resist checking their phones while driving, and ICBC points out that distraction is the leading factor in crashes involving pedestrians or cyclists. We can’t risk being distracted on the road because even on our familiar routes, there can be unexpected obstacles. A vehicle in the next lane coming to a stop could be yielding to a pedestrian, and the sheer size of certain vehicles these days can create additional blind spots that make small children harder to see.
ICBC also offers tips for parents and caregivers, suggesting that students being dropped off should get out of the vehicle on the side closest to the sidewalk. Younger children should know the basics for crossing the street, of course, but families might want to further reinforce safety by practising the walk to school and setting good examples by always crossing the street at marked crosswalks.
Distracted walking can be dangerous, too, reminds ICBC, and children should be taught to put away their phones or other electronic gadgets until they reach their destination.
Our commutes to work probably overlap with students’ routes to and from school. Slowing down a little and being smart on the streets isn’t much to ask if it helps ensure children in Nanaimo-Ladysmith get safely to school by first bell.