Return to school prompts ICBC reminder for drivers to watch for children walking or cycling

Return to school prompts ICBC reminder for drivers to watch for children walking or cycling
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As the start of the new school year approaches, ICBC is calling on drivers to be cautious and watch for children using the roads.

According to ICBC, an average of 31 children between the ages of five to 18 who are walking or biking are hit by vehicles every month, and an average of 370 per year.

On Vancouver Island, two children walking or cycling are killed and 52 are injured in crashes every year. In school and playground zones, nine children are injured in crashes every year. In Victoria, eight children are injured in crashes while walking or cycling every year.

Last year, 6,500 tickets were handed out for speeding in a school or playground zone, according to ICBC.

School zones have a 30 km/h speed limit from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on school days, and playground zones have a 30 km/h limit from dawn to dusk every day. Many areas in front of schools are playground zones, so it is important to check the sign to know when the 30 km/h limits are in effect.

Most schools will be back in session starting on Sept. 6.

ICBC says distraction is the leading cause of vehicles crashing into cyclists or pedestrians, so is reminding drivers they need to leave their phones alone while behind the wheel.

If school bus lights are flashing, traffic in both directions must stop.

If a vehicle in front of you stops, they may be stopping for a pedestrian, so keep an eye out.

ICBC also advises drivers to walk around their vehicle before getting in to check for small children and to ensure headlights, brake lights, and indicator lights are properly working and clearly visible.

For parents and caregivers of children, ICBC advises to ensure children get out on the side of the vehicle closest to the sidewalk if being dropped off at school, to practice walking the route to school and point out safety features, set a good example by not crossing mid-block, and to discourage play on railroads or railroad crossings.

ICBC also advises parents or caregivers teach children street safety, including looking both ways when crossing the street, making sure all vehicles stop before crossing, and continuing to look for vehicles while crossing the road.

While walking, ICBC advises telling children to walk on the inside edge of a sidewalk away from the street, or to walk facing oncoming traffic if there is no sidewalk.

READ MORE: Child struck after SUV driver allegedly fails to stop for school bus

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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