This year back to school will bring challenges never before seen in our community. The ongoing pandemic has changed our daily lives. Children in our community are getting ready to return to school and see their friends and teachers. Others will remain at home, taking part in remote learning or home schooling.
We want to ensure everyone is safe, whether they are travelling to and from school or taking outdoor breaks from online learning. In order to do so we urge all motorist to use caution while travelling in and around Sault Ste. Marie and Prince Township.
We regularly receive complaints from members of the public about vehicles not properly stopping for school buses or at designated school crossings. Please, motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, remain vigilant for vehicles transporting students and crossing guards helping children safely cross area roadways. We urge everyone to be patient as students, bus drivers and school staff are all learning new COVID regulations. Boarding and exiting buses may take longer as everyone gets familiar with the new normal.
To everyone in our community, it is important you familiarize yourself with the rules around properly stopping for buses and school crossings;
drivers travelling in both directions must stop for a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing
when you approach the bus, stop at a safe distance (approximately 20 metres is recommended) to let children get on or off the bus and cross the road
do not move forward until the upper red lights have stopped flashing or the bus begins to move
all motorists, including cyclists, must stop and yield the whole roadway. Only when pedestrians and school crossing guards have completely crossed the road can you continue on your way.
Drivers can be charged if they pass a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing. A first offence carries a minimum fine of $490 and six demerit points. Multiple violations can result in fines as high as $4,000, six demerit points and possible jail time. Vehicle owners can be charged if their vehicle illegally passes a stopped school bus, even if they weren’t driving.
Drivers can be charged if they endanger pedestrians at school crossings. A first offence carries a minimum fine of $365 and four demerits points. Multiple violations can result in fines as high as $2,000, six demerit points, possible jail time and licence suspension.
We have also been contacted by a number of community members to expect an increase in students taking their bicycles to school. It is absolutely crucial, everyone on our roadways keep an eye out for bicycles at intersections and in designated bicycle lanes.
Parents, guardians and care takers, we urge you to discuss school bus, road and bicycle safety with your children. The more knowledge everyone has, the greater odds we have of avoiding a serious incident.
By working together and obeying traffic laws we can prevent serious incidents to keep students in Sault Ste. Marie and Prince Township safe.