EDITORIAL: Back to school speed zones

The leaves are edging towards their fall colors and the days are cooling off; in short, summer is quickly drawing to a close.

The leaves are edging towards their fall colors and the days are cooling off; in short, summer is quickly drawing to a close.

This weekend is the last long weekend of the summer, and while there are still lots of September events — Pentastic Hot Jazz Fest, Canucks Young Stars Classic and the Dragonboat Regatta, to name a few — for the younger set, it’s back to school.

That’s an exciting event in itself, there’s the fun of back-to-school shopping, new clothes and all the gear, the scary excitement of new classes, new friends or perhaps even a new school to learn about. And for those of us who really get a kick out of learning, new textbooks!

But it’s also a dangerous time of year. For the last couple of months, many of the school speed zones haven’t been in effect. That means starting Sept. 7, drivers should be taking special care around schools, playgrounds, parks and the like, especially as the children’s attention is more likely to be on their friends and the excitement of getting back into school mode.

Their first weeks back in school are likely to be filled with academic review, but it’s a good time for drivers to review where children might suddenly be crossing their path. It’s also a good time for parents to spend some time talking about safety habits with their children.  Basic road safety rules, like walking on sidewalks, making sure the bus driver can see them before walking in front of it and not stepping out into traffic from between parked cars is always a good start.

There are a number of spots where the City of Penticton has installed traffic calming measures. Like talking with your children about road safety, these are a great help, but it is still up to drivers to be aware and go slow.