THUNDER BAY – Road safety is a year round issue. Heading into September, motorists have a little extra to consider. As students return to school, often the excitement of the first days of classes have young people forgetting the well taught rules of road safety.
September signifies the start of a new school year and drivers are reminded to be extra cautious when it comes to school zone and bus safety.
All motorists have the responsibility to share the road safely. Where ever your travels take you, make sure to leave yourself plenty of time to get to your destination to account for potential school zone and school bus delays.
- The speed limit in a school zone is 40 kilometers per hour unless otherwise posted.
- Alternating flashing yellow or amber lights mean a bus is slowing down to stop, and this is an indication for other motorists to do the same.
- When approaching a school bus with red lights flashing – you must stop!
In Ontario there are serious penalties for not stopping;
First offence: $400 to $2,000 and six demerit points
Each subsequent offence: $1,000 to $4,000, six demerit points and possible jail time up to six months
- Expect the unexpected. Young people may cross the street at the wrong place, or unexpectedly run or ride in from of you.
- Keep in mind that there will be several hundred students coming to Thunder Bay from the North who are new to the city.
Parents: The various stages of developmental learning and understanding for children is natural, and it is up to parents and guardians to ensure their well-being. Make a point to remind your children about some simple safety rules that can really make a difference.
- Despite the pedestrian right-of-way in a marked cross-walk ensure to POINT, PAUSE & PROCEED, and never run into the street.Children should always walk to their destination, never run.
- Make your intentions of crossing the street known by coming to a complete stop at the edge of the sidewalk and POINT across the road to show drivers you want to cross;
- PAUSE until the cars stop and you make eye contact with the drivers;
- PROCEED with your arm extended after all cars in all the lanes have stopped.
- Be sure your children are dressed appropriately for the weather; there is always a chance the bus may be behind schedule.
Children: In addition to following the rules of the road as a pedestrian or perhaps a cyclist, using the school bus safely is equally important.
Bus Safety Tips
- While at the bus stop, wait in a safe place away from the road.
- Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop and its doors to open before approaching.
- When boarding the bus do so in a single file and use the handrails.
- Once on the bus go directly to your seat prior to the bus departing. Remain seated while traveling and wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before moving to exit.
- Keep the aisles clear of debris including books and school bags.
- Be mindful that the driver needs to concentrate on navigating the roadways: Do not engage in loud and/or boisterous activity as it is unsafe for passengers and may be very distracting.
We all have a role to play in keeping our youth safe this school year – drive responsibly and be a positive role-model on the streets.