As summer draws to an end and thousands of Central Okanagan students prepare for back to school, the Kelowna RCMP and the Traffic Safety Officer of School District No. 23 are reminding motorists to stop for school buses, yield for pedestrians and watch their speeds in school zones.
For most schools, students will be making their way back to school on Tuesday Sept. 6.
This means that drivers can expect to see an increase in pedestrians and cyclists sharing the roadways. School zone speed limits in the City of Kelowna and City of West Kelowna will now be in effect as of 7:30 a.m., rather than the previous 8 a.m.
Motorists are also reminded to stop for School Buses, which will also be back in operation on Sept. 6, as they load and unload passengers in neighbourhoods and outside schools.
Tips for sharing our roads with school buses: Traffic Safety Officer – Dave Gibson
•Never pass a School Bus from behind – or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children with its red flashing lights are engaged and/or its “Stop Sign” is extended;
•The area 10 feet around a School Bus is the most dangerous for children, ensure that you stop far enough back to allow them space to safely get off and onto the bus;
•Be alert, children are often unpredictable and they tend to forget hazards and perhaps take risks;
“Tuesday Sept. 6 is the first day back to school and children will be arriving back to our local area schools still full of the exuberance of summer and perhaps not used to the close proximity of other traffic in the school area,” said Dave Gibson, regional traffic safety officer.
“Motorists need to be particularly mindful at this time of the year. Students are new cyclists and will still be riding their bikes to school if the weather is nice.”
“Parents should consider parking a couple of blocks away and walking into the school, rather than arriving directly at the school site. This can help relieve traffic congestion at the school and provide an opportunity for a little exercise before the school day begins.”
Const. Jesse O’Donaghey said enforcement officers and Speed Watch volunteers will be increasing their presence in school zones, throughout the Central Okanagan, to ensure this happens.
“RCMP would like to remind motorists that school zone speed limits will once again be in effect, starting this year motorists will be required to maintain a maximum speed of 30 km/hr between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.,” said O’Donaghey.
“RCMP in Kelowna and West Kelowna are committed to providing an education period, during the month of September, to motorists found allegedly speeding in School Zones between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m.”
Driver’s deemed to be speeding, in what would have been a 50 km/hr zone may face fines under the Motor Vehicle Act.
Zero tolerance speed enforcement during the new time frames, will start on Oct. 1