Drivers and Pedestrians: Exercise Caution as Schools Reopen
With September just around the corner, schools across the province will soon be opening their doors to students and BC’s drivers will need to adjust their habits accordingly.
Beginning next week, school zones will be in effect, and there will be an increase in foot and vehicle traffic around schools and neighbourhoods, including school buses before and after school hours.
Unfortunately there is often confusion about motorists responsibilities when approaching school buses. Rules under the BC Motor Vehicle act are designed to keep children safe when they are boarding or getting off school buses, explains Superintendent Denis Boucher, Officer in Charge, E Division Traffic Services.
Pedestrians also need to take responsibility for their safety:
- Don't always assume you have the right of way as a pedestrian
- Try and make eye contact with drivers before crossing the road
- do not become distracted with looking at or texting on your mobile phone while walking
- Listening to loud music on headphones can dull your senses to oncoming dangers
- Stay alert until you have safely reached the other side of the road, cars can come from all directions
- In the evening, wear bright colored clothing or a reflective arm/leg band that will help you be seen by motorists
- Be aware of parked vehicles in a parking lot or on the road. A driver may not see you between parked vehicles and you may not see them moving. Before crossing or walking through a parking lot, stop and look left-right-left around parked vehicles. Children should avoid taking shortcuts through parking lots.
When encountering a school bus drivers are reminded that:
- It is illegal for a vehicle to pass a stopped school bus with its red light flashing.
- The red light is a legal stop sign that has the same authority as any other stop sign.
- All vehicles must stop when the school bus displays flashing red warning lights and extends the stop signal arm. Vehicles may not pass until the flashing red lights and signals are turned off.
- All vehicles traveling in the same or opposite direction as the bus are always required to stop.
- Keep an eye out for children walking or riding their bikes to and from school.
Closer to schools and in school zone we are also encouraging drivers to exercise greater caution, and obey the school zone speed limits. It only takes a second for a child to run out onto the road,says Supt Boucher.
General tips for motorists around schools include:
- Slow down
- Be especially careful when driving on neighborhood streets and around school zones, always expect the unexpected.
- Every school day, unless otherwise posted, a 30km/h speed limit is in effect in school zones from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Be alert for youngsters walking to and from school as you back out of your driveway or leave your parking garage.
- We want school children to be safe. Watch for them on bicycles, especially at intersections and driveways. Young bicyclists have a tendency to dart out of driveways without looking for traffic.
- If you decide to meet your child at the bus stop after school, wait on the side where the child will be dropped off, not across the street. Children can get so excited at seeing you after school they might forget safety rules and dash across the street.
- Speed in school zone: $196 to $253
- Speed in playground zone: $196 to $253
- Fail to stop for school bus:$368
- Fail to yield to pedestrian: $167
- Disobey school guard/patrol: $167
- Date modified: