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ICBC asking drivers and parents to help keep kids safe this summer

June 25, 2013

ICBC asking drivers and parents to help keep kids safe this summer

No more pencils, no more books... school's out for summer! It's an exciting time for kids and many are looking forward to spending more time outdoors, so we're asking drivers and parents to help keep kids safe on our roads during the summer months.

In 2012, 48 child pedestrians (age 5 to 12) were injured in 47 incidents. This means all child pedestrian-related incidents reported to ICBC involved a child being injured.

"As a parent of three young children, I know how exciting the summertime can be for them, and road safety is often not on top of their minds," said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. "That's where we need to do our part to help keep our kids safe."

"Summer can be a time of joy for kids who like to be outside and for all of us who like to be on our bikes," said Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice. "But the season can bring extra risk, which is why we ask drivers to please keep your eyes on the road and your speed in check, especially around playgrounds and on residential streets."

"We want kids to enjoy their summer which is why we're asking drivers to slow down and watch out for them, especially around parks and playgrounds," said John Dickinson, ICBC's director of road safety. "Parents should also take this opportunity to review the rules of the road with their children to help keep them safe."

Here are ICBC's tips for drivers:

  • It's all mixed up: During the last few days of school, kids may be arriving or leaving school at varying times throughout the day. When school is in session, a 30-km/h school zone speed limit is in effect between 8 am and 5 pm. During the summer months, speed limits in school zones are only in effect if summer school is in session, but kids often still play around these areas, so drive cautiously at all times.
  • Kids all around: Drivers aren't used to seeing crowded playgrounds and parks during the day but this all changes as we welcome summer. Remember that playground speed limits remain in effect year-round. When driving around playgrounds and parks, observe carefully. Small children are less predictable and harder to see than adults.
  • Watch for clues: In residential areas, a hockey net or ball can mean that kids are playing nearby. Remember that a child could dash into the street at any moment. Pay attention and always anticipate the unexpected.

Here are ICBC's pedestrian safety tips for parents to share with their children:

  • Be a role model: Parents are the number one role models for their children so make sure you set a good example when teaching them about pedestrian safety. If your child sees you jaywalking, they will think it is okay to do and will do the same thing. Make sure you teach your child to cross at intersections that have a pedestrian crossing light or a marked crosswalk whenever possible.
  • Make it fun: Make your road safety teaching fun while still treating it as a serious issue. For younger children, try an interactive game by having them point out all the traffic signs they see and ask if they know what they mean. For older children, remind them to put away their phones and remove their headphones when crossing the road.
  • Focus on the basics: Kids will digest information about serious issues when it's kept simple and relevant. Therefore, begin your pedestrian safety lessons with the key basics that you learned as a kid, which are still relevant today. A great example is how to cross at intersections:

    Stop: Before crossing, always stop at the curb. Make sure all vehicles have stopped.

    Look: Look left and right for oncoming vehicles. Then look again over your shoulders for vehicles that might be turning. Teach your kids to keep looking for approaching vehicles as they cross.

    Listen: Listen for approaching traffic that you can't yet see.

    Make eye contact: Even if the walk signal is on, teach your children to make eye contact with drivers before they cross.

    Walk: Teach your kids to walk, never run, when crossing a road.
  • Mark out safe areas: Focus on teaching your kids where to safely position themselves when they are around roads. Children should always walk on the inside edge of a sidewalk where they are less exposed to traffic. If there isn't a sidewalk, teach your kids to walk facing oncoming traffic so they can see approaching vehicles and make eye contact with drivers. Children should avoid shortcuts through parking lots where drivers can often be distracted by more complex maneuvers.

ICBC provides free road safety materials to schools across B.C. The materials are unique to each grade level and encourage road safety with fun and interactive activities. For information on ordering these materials and for more safety tips, visit icbc.com/road-safety.

Media contact:
Kathy Taylor
604-982-2480