This school zone sign is almost obscured at the crest of the hill on Pine Street heading toward Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo by Don Bodger)

This school zone sign is almost obscured at the crest of the hill on Pine Street heading toward Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Drivers reminded of school zone speed limits back in force Tuesday

Roads will be busy again with kids returning for the start of classes

Schools within the Cowichan Valley are back in session Tuesday and North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP want to remind drivers that school zone speed limits will be in effect.

With Cowichan Valley School District No. 79 encompassing 7,800 students, there will be a rush of activity at the start of a new school year.

Drivers are urged to adjust their driving behaviours and expectations in order to factor in the increase of foot traffic, bicycles, and the presence of school buses on the road.

“Remembering that school zones are in session can be an adjustment for everyone,” said Const. Bryce Wilkinson, North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP. “Everyone plays a role in keeping our roads safe, whether it’s drivers being more attentive and slowing down, parents having safety talks with their children, or kids slowing down and remembering how to be seen and be safe.”

According to ICBC, 33 children are injured in pedestrian motor vehicle collisions and 22 in cyclist-motor vehicle collisions on Vancouver Island every year.

ICBC has tips on how to help keep children safe if they are walking or biking as part of their daily routine. Parents are encouraged to go over some of those tips with their kids to help prepare for the safest possible school year.

Some of those tips include:

* Review safety rules with your children and practice how to use crosswalks safely.

* Demonstrate good walking habits.

* Teach cycling safety to kids, including cycling in a straight line, using hand signals, and shoulder checking.

* Make sure bikes have proper safety equipment, including bells, lights, and reflective materials.

* Make wearing a helmet a rule for your child if they want to use their bike, skateboard or rollerblades.

Police will be out doing increased patrols, looking for offenders, and reminding drivers to slow down and stay alert.