Back to School Safety Tips

Back to school — with those three magic words, the freedom of summer holidays gives way to the excitement of seeing old friends, wearing your new jeans, and showing off that new binder with a built-in calculator. After all these years you can still remember that feeling of being a year older, a bit wiser, an inch taller. If you close your eyes you can practically taste that crisp autumn air.

But September also means waking up from summer slumber and getting your family back in gear. There’s shopping to do, lunches to make, and we’re all just a little more rushed trying to get everyone out the door in the morning.

Our AMA School Safety Patrol team is gearing up for our 77th season of keeping school zones safe for Alberta families. As we unfold our fluorescent vests and dig out our stop sign paddles, we get chills just thinking of the new crop of patrollers who will start their leadership careers in the crosswalk. And to keep them safe (while they keep us safe) we’ve put together some Back to School basics to get you back in the groove.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

This fall marks the return of 30 kph school zone speed limits from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on school days in Edmonton. In Calgary, the city recently changed the signs for school zones and playground zones to run from 7:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Confused? Don’t be. The simple way to avoid tickets and demerits (or something much worse) is to check your speed every time you drive by a place where children learn or play. The difference between a collision with a pedestrian at 30 kph and one at 50 kph could be the difference between an injury and a fatality.

Park. Walk. Enjoy.

With multi-tasking parents, school bus blind spots and distracted commuters, school zone congestion is a big frustration for schools trying to keep our kids safe. We set a bad example by jaywalking or stepping out from behind parked vehicles. Rather than competing to see who can park closest to the front door, park a couple blocks away and enjoy a little ‘we’ time with mini-me. The fresh air and exercise will do you good.

Got Wheels? Let ’em Roll.

Notice those strange markings on city streets? Part of sharing the road means understanding bicycle lanes and giving our two-wheeled friends a little extra space to pedal. Depending where you live there might be different rules so keep your head up and play it safe. And if you or your kids cycle, always wear a helmet and reflective material. If you do break down on your bike, our Bike Assist service is just a quick call away.

Get more Back to School advice – follow @AMACommunity on Twitter or check out our Facebook page. Visit our Resources page to organize a School Safety Patrol program at your school.

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When I'm not busy advocating for safer roads and communities, I can be found advocating for my children to eat their vegetables and clean their rooms. I'm committed to helping AMA members find the confidence to live their best lives.