Road safety a priority as children return to school

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City of Ottawa

As children head back to school, the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Police Service and Ottawa Public Health are reminding motorists to be cautious, drive safe and follow the rules of the road, especially near school zones and school buses.

"This time of year is exciting for children and their families as they return to school," said Mayor Jim Watson. "It's important that motorists are aware that children will be may need to use or cross roads on their way to and from school and to exercise caution when driving in these areas."

The City has posted five portable variable message signs at high-traffic intersections to remind drivers about the start of the school season and the need to practise vigilance when driving near schools or school buses. The signs will be in operation at these key locations for the next two weeks.

Ottawa Police Service will also be focusing on back to school road safety education and enforcement in the coming weeks.

"Every school year, Ottawa Police focuses its efforts on ensuring drivers are respecting the rules of the road related to school zones and buses," said Acting Inspector Chris Rheaume. "It's important to take a moment to remind ourselves that children are out on roads and sidewalks and we all have a responsibility to drive appropriately to ensure everyone's return to school is as safe as possible."

Safer roads also mean more active and healthy children who feel safe getting back and forth from school by walking or cycling.

"Walking or biking to school is a great way for students to get exercise and achieve the minimum 60 minutes of physical activity each day," said Dr. Isra Levy, Medical Officer of Health. "Ottawa Public Health encourages students to walk or bike to school as part of an effort to create a culture of active transportation in the city, and we all have a role to play in ensuring safer roads so our kids can lead more active lives."

This initiative supports the larger Safer Roads Ottawa Program, a leading partnership between Ottawa Fire Services, Ottawa Paramedic Service, Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa Public Health and the Public Works Department and is committed to preventing or eliminating road deaths and serious injuries for all people in the City of Ottawa, through culture change, community engagement, and development of a sustainable safe transportation environment.