Another summer is coming to a close and the return to school is just around the corner. For parents like Dean Murdock and Elise Cote of Better Mobility Saanich, road safety is a concern as they gear up for a campaign to advocate for safer back-to-school travel.
Better Mobility Saanich was created with the intention of advocating for improved infrastructure so people can get around better on foot, bike, scooter, bus, and in cars.
The advocacy group is asking residents to let them know what some of their walking or riding concerns are regarding certain sections of the road. For example, Murdock mentioned that there are many sidewalks that abruptly end, forcing pedestrians to walk on small shoulders or to cross the street where there is no safe crosswalk.
Murdock’s kids, Avery and Caelum, said they have mixed feelings about their return to school – a bit of excitement coupled with that familiar dread. Murdock said that it is difficult not to worry when he sees his kids off to school, but has shown them the safest routes and has discovered roundabout ways to avoid areas where infrastructure improvements are much needed.
“We just want drivers to go slower, and I feel like we’ve gotten the runaround in certain areas where we’re pushing for safer roads,” said Cote. “It really comes back to strong leadership, finding ways to slow down traffic through infrastructure and to provide safe environments and pathways for pedestrians and cyclists.”
Det.-Sgt. Damien Kowalewich said that the Saanich Police Department will be increasing its presence in school zones this back-to-school season.
“The biggest message here is to plan ahead, be patient, slow down, and be aware of your surroundings so we can all live enjoyable, collision-free lives,” said Kowalewich
Some reminders to motorists as the school year begins again are to never pass a bus that has its red lights flashing. Kowalewich also emphasized that drivers need to follow the speed limit in school zones and to constantly scan the road for children and other pedestrians whether in a school zone or not.
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