Even standing half a block away from Sangster Elementary school, it’s hard to miss Sandra Bowes.
With her purple hair, neon orange sunglasses, yellow and orange reflective vest and stop sign, Bowes helps dozens of students and parents cross the road safely at a marked crosswalk outside the Colwood school.
For 45 minutes every morning, she welcomes children and waves at passing cars, rain or shine – all with a smile on her face.
“[I enjoy] getting to see all the kids in the morning,” said Bowes, who is also an education assistant at the school.
“Fresh air for 45 minutes every day is nice and just greeting cars in the morning. People are very friendly in the morning.”
Earlier this week, Bowes, along with the afternoon crossing guard donned rainbow and glitter-covered tutus to draw attention to the fact that school is back in session, and the 30 kilometre an hour speed limit is also in effect.
“I just wanted to draw attention that we’re back in the crosswalks and watch out for kids. I wanted to have some fun with it and remind people that we’re back out here every day,” she said.
Despite the bright-coloured clothing, occasionally people don’t clue in that it’s a school zone.
Bowes said the area is notorious for speeding. Since a portion of Metchosin Road is 30 kilometres from dusk until dawn, Bowes said people will speed through and forget when they enter the school zone.
There have been a few incidents in the past two years that Bowes has worked as a crossing guard, when she’s almost been hit by cars while in the marked crosswalk during her morning shifts.
“It’s safety first, obviously,” she said.
According to the West Shore RCMP, several violation tickets were issued in school zones since school started on Tuesday.
“For the start of the 2018 school year, West Shore RCMP will be conducting extra enforcement targeting speeding and distracted driving in and around school zones,” Cpl. Chris Dovell said.
“Drivers and parents are reminded they must obey directions of crossing guards and to take extra precaution around intersections, crosswalks and in parking lots.”