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Helping parents to drop off their kids safely in Port Moody
School is in session today but that doesn't mean your school parking lot has to be a dangerous gauntlet for your children to navigate.
In fact, the same principles of calmness, compassion, tolerance and respect School District 43 teachers are trying to impart to your kids could be shown in school parking lots and roads leading up to them.
Take it easy, advises Craig Mah. The Heritage Mountain elementary principal will be monitoring traffic in his school's parking lot this over the next few days but he's not expecting any trouble.
That's because of a successful campaign last March to remind parents to be more careful driving in and around the school parking lot.
Mah ignited some controversy with a Twitter campaign that used sci-fi gags to get people to pay attention to the rules of the road. "I'd say, 'There's a Klingon blocking the fire hydrant, watch out.'"
After a while, parents stopped tuning him out and started driving more carefully. Instead of parking three abreast in the school lot and forcing kids to run between stopped cars, parents were encouraged to park on the street and walk their kids to school.
The result was a calmer, safer school, and Mah expects the same polite behaviour when school resumes this week. He'll still tweet out remind newcomers of the rules but he expects most parents will pay more attention to safety this year.
"The tweets back were very supportive," he said. "Parents were very happy seeing something being done."
DON'T BE A STATISTIC - SOME SAFETY TIPS
Child safety is a concern across the province this time of year as the roads get busy again. According to ICBC, as many as 30 children aged five to 18 are killed and 5,100 are injured in 14,700 crashes a year.
Police chiefs and ICBC are asking parents to remind children about traffic safety, including removing their headphones when they cross the street and making eye contact with drivers so you both know they see each other.
• When school is back in session, remember that every school day, unless otherwise posted, a 30 km/h speed limit is in effect in school zones from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• When you’re dropping off your children in school zones, stop and allow them to exit the car on the side closest to the sidewalk. Never allow a child to cross mid-block.
• If a vehicle is stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, the driver may be yielding to a pedestrian, so be prepared to stop. Always yield to pedestrians — it’s the law.
• Before getting into your vehicle, make a habit of walking around your vehicle to make sure no small children are behind it; always look for pedestrians when you’re backing up.
• Be aware of parked vehicles in a parking lot or on the road. A driver may not see you between parked vehicles and you may not see them moving. Before crossing or walking through a parking lot, stop and look — left, right, left — around parked vehicles. Children should avoid taking shortcuts through parking lots.
ICBC provides free road safety educational materials to B.C. schools to help students learn about road safety using fun and interactive activities. The materials are unique to each grade level from kindergarten to grade 10. To find out more, visit icbc.com/4teachers.