Minto Express editorial
School begins next week and the Canadian Safety Council offers these suggestions for both students and drivers as classes get back in session.
For students getting to and on the school bus:
1. Arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the scheduled pick up time. Children should never run after the school bus to try to catch it. If you miss the bus, go back home or if you are at school, report to a teacher.
2. Stay on the sidewalk, well away from the roadway and stay back until the bus has come to a full stop and the door opens.
3. If your child needs to cross the street, teach them to look to the left, then to the right, and to the left once more before crossing the street.
4. Use the handrail when boarding or exiting the bus.
5. Take a seat as quickly as possible, put belongings under the seat and stay seated.
6. Never stick anything out of the window, including arms or heads.
7. Save food for snack time at school or until you get home.
8. Wait until the school bus comes to a complete stop before getting off.
After riding on the school bus:
9. When getting off the bus: take two large steps away from bus. If you must walk in front of the bus, walk ahead at least three metres (10 giant steps).
10. The driver must be able to see you and will give a signal when it is safe to cross. Cross in a single file.
11. If a child drops something near or under the school bus, they should never attempt to retrieve it without the driver’s permission.
Every driver must remember that when approaching a stopped school bus (on a non-divided road) that has its overhead red signal-lights flashing and side stop sign out, they must stop before reaching the bus and must not proceed until the overhead red signal-lights have stopped flashing.
Travel by bicycle
To ride a bicycle to and from school, children should be mature enough (minimum nine to 12 years old), and must have enough experience. The rider should be able to scan ahead and check behind without swerving.
• Wear a properly fitted helmet
• Have their bikes fitted properly and in good working order. The bike should have a regular maintenance check-up and should have a bell. It is also a good idea to have a safety flag.
• Know and obey all traffic rules, signs and signals. They must signal turns and stops. Ride in a straight line in the same direction as traffic and stop at every stop sign.
• Be predictable to other road users by riding with the traffic usually on the right hand side of the roadway.
Walking to school
Many children use roadways to make their way to and from school. Parents and guardians must review road safety rules with their children and the importance of not accepting rides or any invitations from strangers. It is best to walk with a buddy.
To keep safe on roads, children pedestrians must:
• Find a safe and direct route to school with the help of their parents. Hazards should be identified (train tracks, busy intersections, etc.) and a designated route with safety rules should be established.
• Stay on sidewalks whenever possible. If there is no sidewalk, use the left side of the road facing traffic.
• Cross streets only at crosswalks and learn to look to the left, the right and then left again before proceeding, even at intersections with pedestrian walk signs.