Tim Schewe

Drivesmart column: Crossing guards there to keep kids safe

The system works well, except when someone disobeys

By Tim Schewe

The crossing guard is taking on a big responsibility when it comes to helping our children cross busy highways and intersections on their way to and from school each day. Traffic is in a hurry, the children don’t always pay the attention that they should and sometimes the road conditions are poor or visibility is not good. It is not a job to be taken lightly!

The system works well, except when someone disobeys.

Rights of way between vehicle and pedestrian

179 (4) A pedestrian, a cyclist, the operator of a regulated motorized personal mobility device or the driver of a motor vehicle must obey the instructions of an adult school crossing guard and of a school student acting as a member of a traffic patrol where the guards or students are

(a) provided under the School Act,

(b) authorized by the chief of police of the municipality as defined in section 36 (1),

(c) if located on treaty lands, authorized by the chief of the police force responsible for policing the treaty lands, or

(d) if located on Nisga’a Lands, authorized by the chief of the police force responsible for policing the Nisga’a Lands.

Failure to obey may result in a traffic ticket with a ticketed amount of $167 for all and three penalty points if you are a driver.

In 2021, the most recent year of collision statistics published by ICBC, there were 676 crashes involving pedestrians at intersections. Unfortunately, the data tool does not allow for refinement to select only crashes where crossing guards were involved.

The province publishes a Pedestrian Crossing Control Manual. Chapter 3, which begins on page 139, provides guidance for establishing an adult school crossing guard program.

This will not be an easy task judging by my experience with École Oceanside Elementary. Over the course of two and a half years the PAC faced many roadblocks and ultimately did not succeed. Instead they received a Vision Zero grant for portable traffic calming measures including two solar powered speed feedback signs, a crosswalk safety sign, and four drop off safety cones.

Please accept that the crossing guard is there to help keep our children safe as they travel to and from school. Follow their instructions carefully.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. To comment or learn more, please visit DriveSmartBC.ca

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