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Safety first on our streets

 

By Elwin LeRoux, Superintendent, Halifax Regional School Board

“Look both ways before you cross the street.”

“Make eye contact with the driver before you step onto the road.”

“Obey traffic signals.”

These are commonly known “rules of the road” for pedestrians to keep in mind every day. With school back in, the sidewalks, cul de sacs, crosswalks and side roads are busier than they have been during summer vacation. With the increase in traffic, both motorized and on foot, it’s important for all of us to take a moment and think about pedestrian safety. 

In the Halifax Regional School Board we have approximately 48,000 students, more than half of whom walk to school every day. Students from Grades Primary to 12 walk to and from school, and sometimes go home for lunch. Walking to school offers great health benefits and social time for students. Often families and/or friends will walk together.

Throughout Halifax there are many crosswalks and intersections. Some have traffic lights, and others may have overhead flashing amber lights. There are also crossing guards at many of the busier intersections, who work during peak periods to help pedestrians of all ages cross the road.  This is especially important for our youngest citizens.

As a parent/guardian, you can help. Have conversations with your child/children about pedestrian safety. Here are some tips that may help you:

·       Heads up!- If you’re walking or crossing the street, keep your head up and pay attention to your surroundings.

·       Make eye contact! - Make sure the driver sees you before you step into the roadway.

·       Pocket your mobile devices!- Using a hand-held device while walking can be a major distraction and can be dangerous. Watch where you are going!

·       Use overhead lights at crosswalks where applicable, and obey the traffic signals.

·       EVERY intersection is a crosswalk, painted or not. Drivers need to be watching for pedestrians, and vice versa.

If your child walks or bikes to school, consider walking/biking the route with them if you haven’t already. As an adult you might see some potential hazards that your child may not. 

Students who travel on school buses also have to consider road safety. Students need to be careful when crossing the road to get on or off the bus, and when walking to and from their bus stop. The extended arm on the front of the school bus helps guide students to be far enough away from the bus to ensure the driver can see them as they cross. It is important that younger students have an adult walk them to their bus stop, and meet them at the end of the day.

Pedestrian safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Whether your child is walking along a side road in Musquodoboit, crossing a busy intersection on Quinpool Road or getting off a school bus to round the corner on the way home, we want to make sure they are safe on their journey to and from school.

I wish all our students, families and staff a safe and successful school year.

Elwin LeRoux is the superintendent of the Halifax Regional School Board. Twitter: @ElwinLeRoux



 

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