Every month in British Columbia, 31 children are injured in crashes while walking or riding their bike, according to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).

Now with the new school year underway the ICBC is sharing important tips for drivers, parents and caregivers to help children get to school safely.

Police and speed watch volunteers are closely monitoring drivers’ speeds in school zones. Last year, 6,500 tickets were handed out to drivers for speeding in school and playground zones in BC.

The ICBC has issued the following tips for drivers:

  • Leave your phone alone and watch for children walking or cycling. Distraction is the leading factor for drivers in crashes with pedestrians and cyclists.
  • If a vehicle stops in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding to a pedestrian, so proceed with caution and be prepared to stop.
  • Watch for school buses. When their lights are flashing, vehicles approaching from both directions must stop.
  • Before getting into your vehicle, walk around it to make sure there are no small children hidden from view. Always look for pedestrians when backing up.

Tips for parents and caregivers:

  • If you drop off your child in a school zone, they should exit the car on the side closest to the sidewalk.
  • If your child walks to school, practice their route with them ahead of time
  • Teach your child to walk on the inside edge of the sidewalk away from the road, so they’re further away from traffic. If there isn’t a sidewalk, they can walk facing oncoming traffic, so they can see approaching vehicles.
  • Teach your child to put away electronic gadgets, cell phone and ear buds while walking or cycling so they can scan for approaching vehicles or hear traffic that may be hard to see.