Education key to get Langley kids safely to school

Now that all schools are back in session, the police are reminding Langley residents of a few safety tips for driving.

“You can keep your child safe by raising their awareness of potential hazards while the rest of us make school bus safety a priority by obeying the rules of the road. Let’s make this school year a safe one,” said Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Marks.

Vehicle, pedestrian, bicycle and school bus safety are all important topics parents should review with their children.

Parents dropping off their children should avoid parking on the opposite side of the street from the school. If this is unavoidable, ensure your children know how to safely navigate their way across a roadway by using a designated crosswalk.

Also, avoid double parking by stopping and unloading in non-designated parking/drop off zones. Do not block buses or use designated bus only areas for dropping off or picking up your children.

Do not park inside or over a designated crosswalk or pass a stopped vehicle which is allowing pedestrians to cross the street. Learn the traffic patterns at the school and be courteous to other drivers, obeying the directions of crossing guards.

Children exiting vehicles should also be careful when opening doors, and whenever possible, they should exit on the curb side of the vehicle.

Always discourage your children from crossing the road in the middle of the block.

Drivers should make a mental note of all school zone speed limits back in effect. When school is in session, motorists driving in school zones may go no faster than 30 km/h between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Be mindful of school buses in the area and remember, the law requires drivers to stop for school buses when their red lights are flashing.

Langley RCMP would like to encourage parents and family members to talk to the children about school bus safety.

When school is opening in the morning and closing in the afternoon, it is a busy and crowded area. There are children being dropped off or picked up by both school buses and parents.

Kids need to be taught how to get on and off the school bus safely:

• Teach them they must board the bus one at a time;

• Teach them when they are getting off the bus, look before stepping off the bus to be sure no cars are passing on the right shoulder (side of the road);

• Teach them when they are getting off the bus, to look left – right – left when coming to the edge of the bus before crossing the street/road to make sure traffic is stopped. Have them constantly looking both ways as they cross the street until they are safely on the other side;

• Teach them not to run between parked cars and buses; and

• Teach them not to run across the street or through a parking lot trying to catch up with their friends.

Parents need to repeat safety messages throughout the year because:

• Kids will act before they think and have little experience with traffic;

• Kids will assume drivers will see them and will wait for them to cross;

Pedestrians and cyclists also have rules to follow to ensure safety in the school zones.

Parents can protect their children by ensuring they are familiar with the rules of the road.

Teach your children how to properly cross a street using a designated crosswalk.

Make sure children look both ways and make eye contact with approaching motorists to ensure they are seen before entering a crosswalk.

Instruct your children not to enter a crosswalk until traffic has come to a full stop in both directions.

Children should respect crossing guards at school crosswalks and there should be no horse-play while crossing the street.

Pedestrians should never assume that when a light turns green it is safe for them to cross the street. Look for traffic.

If riding bicycles, children and other cyclists should follow the flow of traffic as close to the right edge of the street as possible, in single file.

Familiarize both yourself and your children with the route to school, pointing out safe practices, including where and how they are to catch the bus.

Encourage your child to ask questions about traffic and what to do if they are unsure about how to do something safely.

And anyone who chooses not to make safety a priority may face consequences. The Langley RCMP Traffic, School Resource & General Duty Officers will patrol school areas throughout the school year and conduct enforcement to encourage compliance with the Motor Vehicle Act.

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