During the excitement of the new school year, the RCMP remind students to keep safety top of mind.
 
Constable Hayley Townsend with the RCMP gave advice on school bus safety. Children waiting for the bus should stand at least three steps away from the curb to give themselves plenty of distance from the road. When getting on the bus, wait until the driver has fully stopped and opened the door before approaching.
 
It's important that students remain visible to the bus driver at all times.
 
"If you drop anything, especially behind a bus, never pick it up unless you've notified the driver. The buses are so big, we would hate for something to happen to you," said Townsend.
 
When crossing the road near a bus, wait for the driver to signal that the road is clear and cross in front of the bus, never behind.
 
Townsend asks student that walk or bike to school to stay on the sidewalks whenever possible. When crossing the street, use marked crosswalks, look both ways to ensure traffic has fully stopped and follow the traffic lights.
 
"A really good practice is if you're going to cross at a marked crosswalk, make sure that both sides of traffic are stopped. That means make eye contact with the drivers and make sure they're fully stopped before you start walking out into the road," Townsend added.
 
Wearing bright and reflective clothes when walking or biking makes students more visible to cars, especially as the seasons change and it gets darker in the morning.
 
Students with bikes should wear helmets and lock their bikes up at school.
 
"At the beginning of the school year, we're trying to educate motorists, making sure they remember to slow down. Obviously with two months off of school, people sometimes forget and get into bad habits."
 
Speeding fines in school and playground zones start at $78 plus two demerits for one kilometre over the speed limit and increase with every additional kilometre.
 
The RCMP will have extra enforcement around school and playground zones during the beginning of the year to ensure students and drivers alike are acting responsibly.

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