WITH B.C. school children and teens starting their summer break from school this week, ICBC is asking drivers to be especially alert this season, particularly near playgrounds and around youth walking or riding their bikes.
Every year in B.C., five pedestrians aged five to 18 die and 250 are injured in crashes involving a vehicle. A young cyclist dies every year in B.C. and another 120 young cyclists are injured in crashes involving a vehicle.
Tips for drivers:
* Playground speed limits are year-round: With longer summer days, drivers should remember that the 30km/hr speed limit is from dawn to dusk, every day.
* Summer school speed limits are in effect: For schools that hold summer classes, the school zone speed limit of 30 km/hr is in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on school days. School zone signs will indicate if a school is holding summer sessions.
* Wait at crosswalks: Parents and their young children may need more time when crossing the street. Don’t pass any car waiting at a crosswalk as they may be stopped for those crossing the street. Wait for pedestrians to get to the other side of the street before resuming your travel.
* Slow down on residential streets: Expect the unexpected when children are at play, including the possibility of a teen running to catch an errant ball or a child running out from between parked cars. Slow down and be prepared to stop suddenly.
* Be patient with younger cyclists: Leave plenty of room between your car and young cyclists, in particular. Shoulder check for cyclists before turning right and watch for oncoming cyclists before turning left.
* Distracted walkers: Be aware of pedestrians around you, especially for teens who are wearing headphones or using their cell phones while walking, as they not be paying close attention to the road.
Tips for parents:
* Review safety rules: Review road safety rules with your children and practice how to use crosswalks safely. Set limits to where they can walk alone and where they must be accompanied by an adult.
* Accompany young children: Children under 10 should always be accompanied by an adult when crossing a street or walking close to the road.
* Safe outdoor play areas: Establish safe play areas around your home for younger children, such as your backyard. Supervise your children or assign an older child to be in charge. Teach your child that the road is never a safe place to play, even if their toy rolls into the street or a driveway.
* Demonstrate good walking habits: Practice good walking habits that keep you and your family safe. Teach your child to stand a few steps from the curb while waiting at a crosswalk. Instruct your child to always use a crosswalk, and that jaywalking is never OK.
* Distracted walking: Remind your teen to be aware of their surroundings when walking. Looking at their cell phone or wearing headphones can prevent them from noticing oncoming cars and other hazards.
* Cycling safety: Teach safe cycling behaviour to your children such as cycling in a straight line, performing hand signals and shoulder checking. Outfit their bike with a bell, lights and reflective materials. Children should wear bright, reflective clothing so they can be seen in the dark.
* Head safety: Make wearing a helmet a rule for your child if they want to use their bike, skateboard or rollerblades.