Fall is a season of change, from the crisp golden leaves on the street to the distinctive chill in the air. Aside from the natural transformations this season brings, back-to-school time also means British Columbia’s roadways become much busier. Children are biking, walking and hopping on buses in droves to get to class as the new academic year begins, so now is as good a time as any to think about ways to stay safe on your commute.
We’ve put together some tips for parents to consider during the flurry of back-to-school preparation:
If your child is walking or biking to school without supervision, make sure they have a consistent pathway to school or drop off point and home again. Mapping out the route on paper will help younger kids feel more secure in their new commute. Reading over the basic rules of the road will instill confidence in your child, and put your mind at ease when you send them out for the day.
It’s a good idea to talk to your children at all age groups about distracted walking. A 2018 study by UBC researchers showed that people who focus on their mobile devices while walking are less steady on their feet and slower than other pedestrians. When out with your children, lead by example and put the cellphone down.
BC roads are more congested during the school year, and planning for a longer commute is always a smart move. According to The Vancouver Sun, commuters are experiencing an increase in vehicle traffic of up to 6% at peak times. If you’re driving your children to school, be mindful of each school’s safety measures for pick-up and drop-off, from speed limits to designated zones.
Always remember to let your child exit the car on the sidewalk side, and double check before heading out of the drop-off area that there are no small children around your vehicle. Keep in mind the 30 km per hour speed limit in a school zone . Above all, exercising patience as a driver will help prevent accidents and potential hospital visits.
If your children are taking the bus to school, let them know that rushing to make it on time can be dangerous. Make sure they give the bus lots of leeway by staying a safe distance away from it.
Physicians in BC encourage British Columbians to keep these tips in mind as their children embark on a new academic year, so their time can be spent learning, growing, and playing safely with their friends. A safe school year is a healthy one.
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