School zones back in force Tuesday

Message to drivers: Tuesday marks the return of school zones

As Oak Bay settles into the last long weekend of the summer, police remind residents that this weekend also marks the return of school zones.

Starting Tuesday, police will be protecting the herds of school children making their way to and from class by looking out for drivers who forget that the rules have changed.

School zones come into effect to try and make streets safer for the sudden increase in new pedestrians, many of them preoccupied with all the important things that happen in the first few days of school.

That means speed limits are reduced to 30 km/h between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., every school day, unless otherwise posted. Fines as high as $253 can be doled out to anyone caught speeding in a school zone. Failing to stop for a school bus could cost you $167.

The same applies to anyone caught disobeying the directions of school crossing guard or failing to yield to pedestrians.

“Enforcement officers find that it is often parents transporting their children to school who disobey school zone speed limits. Leave home a few minutes early to avoid feeling rushed,” said Const. Rick Anthony, community liaison with the Oak Bay Police, in a statement issued last week. “Be alert for youngsters walking to and from school as you back out of your driveway or leave your parking garage.”

Anthony said drivers need to be extra vigilant next week, especially at intersections and when pulling into or out of driveways. “Young bicyclists have a tendency to dart out of driveways without looking for traffic.”

Parents who decide to meet children at the bus stop should wait on the side where the child will be dropped off, not across the street. “Children can get so excited at seeing you after school they might forget safety rules and dash across the street.”

Anthony also advises talking to kids about the dangers of walking through parking lots.