School is back in session in the Cariboo meaning more children will be out walking and riding their bikes on our streets and sidewalks.
ICBC issued safety reminders last week to keep more B.C. kids safe this September. According to the insurance corporation, one child aged between five and 18 years is injured in a collision with a vehicle every day, on average, in British Columbia. In North Central B.C., one child walking or cycling is killed on average, and 11 children are injured in crashes yearly. Six children are injured in collisions in school and playground zones 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. to 5 p.m. in Williams Lake, 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 there can be unexpected obstacles even on our familiar routes. 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, but families might want to reinforce safety further 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 the Cariboo get safely to school by first bell.
–Black Press Media