June 22nd, 2024

Police reminding drivers to slow down for student safety

By Al Beeber on September 1, 2021.

Herald photo by Al Beeber - Constable Mike Dowsley of the Lethbridge Police Service mans a radar gun Tuesday morning along the roadway at Park Meadows Elementary School.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

A new school season means the return of reduced speed limits and the city police will be having a bigger presence around schools as students return to their classrooms.
School zones are now in effect from 7:30 to 4:30 p.m. week days, Lethbridge Police Service sergeant Steve Veale told media Wednesday in front of Park Meadows Elementary school.
“Be mindful of the students, they may not be paying attention as you would expect them to do so. They may be excited to come to school and see their friends so maybe the last thing they’re worried about is safety on the roads,” said Veal.
“So we’re here to encourage everyone to be mindful when you drive through school zones, playground zones, dropping off your children, picking up your children. Just be mindful of the laws that are in place. Ultimately, the goal is for the safety of the youth that are out there,” Veal said.
Playground zones, he noted, run from 8:30 a.m. until an hour after sunset.
“For the next little while, you will notice an increase in police enforcement in these areas for the primary purpose of just making sure the kids are safe.”
Common infractions police see, Veal said, include speeding, U-turns, failing to yield for pedestrians in crosswalks, parking on top of crosswalks and parking in alleys.
“We encourage everyone to be mindful of these laws and abide them,” he said.
Fines can be significant, he said, but the issue is not about fines but rather the safety of students.
“The last thing we need is a reminder of the consequence of going so fast. That’s something we want to avoid; we can’t do that ourselves – it’s going to be up to the public to make sure they’re safe when they’re driving.”
“It’s a matter of slowing everything down, slowing the pace down, being mindful of your surroundings.”
Photo radar will be set up in “necessary” locations he said, and officers in school zones will also be conducting enforcement through traditional ways.
Students, he said, also need to be aware of their surroundings when going to school.
“It’s not just the driver of vehicles that need to be paying attention; it’s the bicyclists, it’s the pedestrians so it goes both ways.”
Pedestrians also need to slow down, he said, and not be in a rush to cross the street. They need to make eye contact with oncoming vehicles, confirm they are stopped before crossing and not assume they’re going to stop.
“That happens way too often where people just assume and run out into traffic and obviously terrible things happen.”

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