VIEWPOINT

Slow down and watch for children crossing

Summer has come to a close and Ladysmith students are heading back to class this week.

They have new books, pens, paper and pencils, in addition to new clothes, shoes and backpacks. They are ready – and perhaps even looking forward to – a new school year full of new ideas, concepts and topics to discover.

But it’s not just the children facing a learning curve.

Motorists are reminded that 30-kilometre-an-hour school zones are back in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Slow down because no matter how much of a rush you believe you are in, it’s the law and putting lives at risk isn’t worth it.

But drivers should also keep an eye out for children walking to school or waiting alongside the road for the school bus to visit their neighbourhood.

If you see a vehicle stopped in front of you or the lane beside you, be prepared to stop as they may be yielding for a young pedestrian.

Parents dropping off children in a school zone should always allow them to exit onto the sidewalk side of the vehicle and never allow a child to cross mid-block.

But the onus isn’t just on motorists.

Parents need to sit down with their children and make road safety and the rules of the road one more lesson that children must learn during this school year.

Children should cross at intersections that have a pedestrian crossing light or marked crosswalk wherever possible.

It is safer to walk on the inside edge of the sidewalk, away from traffic, and to walk facing traffic if there is no sidewalk so drivers are better able to see you.

From First Avenue to Hart Lake and from Transfer Beach to Coronation mall, classes are getting underway and with that comes a lot of excitement and positive expectations.

If everyone thinks about safety first, the new school year can be successful for students and motorists alike.