BASS Coast Mayor, Cr Brett Tessari, asked the community to be careful on the roads around the school zones last week, mindful that many would take the opportunity of the warmer weather to walk rather than drive.

And that proved to be the case when state schools went back-to-school last Thursday after a disrupted 2020.

Right across the region, the scene last Thursday morning featured family groups walking the footpaths and using their school crossings in big numbers.

“It is easy sometimes to forget that the speed limits have changed back when you have been used to driving past a school zone during the holidays, so please be mindful”, Cr Tessari said.

He said it was also important to not park too close to the school crossings, as supervisors need a clear field of vision in all directions around their crossing so they can spot approaching children and vehicles as soon as possible.

Vehicles must not stop 20 metres before or 10 metres after a school crossing, which is generally defined by line markings or parking signage.

Mayor, Cr Brett Tessari, asked parents to remember the parking rules during drop off and pick-up times and also the 40km/h limit.

“The rules are there to help ensure the safety of children, pedestrians and motorists around our schools and streets. It might seem harmless double parking, stopping in a bus zone or no standing zone for a few seconds, but it is safer to park in the designated areas or a bit further away and enjoy a short stroll”, Cr Tessari said.

Outside the Cowes Primary School, on busy Settlement Road, crossing supervisor Carmel Waldron ran a tight ship.

She had a smile and a welcoming word for returning students and their families, but it was all business as she stepped out on to the road, blew the whistle and called the traffic to a halt.

“It’s great to see the kids back again,” she said after seeing another group, with dog in tow, safely across.

It was noticeable, however, that some kids and their families crossed the road away from the designated crossings.

Minister for Education James Merlino and Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan also urged drivers last week to slow down and take extra care around schools.

“Walking or riding to school is a great way for children to keep active, but it also means drivers need to take extra care around school zones and look out for kids on bikes and scooters, as well as on foot.”

“A small reduction in speed can dramatically increase the chance of a child surviving if they are hit by a car,” said the Education Minister.

“Going back to school is an exciting time for students, but we mustn’t forget that they can be unpredictable, fast and difficult to see,” said Mr Donnellan.

“We’re urging parents to talk to their children about safely crossing the road and encouraging the basics of road safety.”