With students set to return to school, police offer some safety reminders

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Although summer doesn’t officially end until Sept. 21, the beginning of the month signals the season of fun in the sun is wrapping up for the younger set.
And police want to make sure this is a safe time for students as they make their way back to class. They offer the following tips:
• As a parent/guardian, if you feel your child is not capable of safely walking or biking to school, walk or bike with them until you are confident in their abilities.
• Encourage traveling to school with a friend or a group of friends.
• Ensure kids never take shortcuts through isolated areas, and remind them to stay on the practiced route home.
• Always ensure kids are wearing an approved helmet when riding a bicycle. Kids under the age of 18 are required by law to wear a helmet. Failing to do so could result in a fine under the Highway Traffic Act and could result in serious injuries if you are involved in a collision. Parents/guardians of cyclists under the age of 16 who are not wearing a helmet could also be fined. 
• Kids should refrain from wearing earbuds/headphones and listening to music while biking or walking.
• Ensure kids understand the importance of following the bus driver/safety patrollers’ directions when getting on and off the bus.
• When leaving the school bus, stay in view of the driver and always cross the street in front of the bus. Remember – if you cannot see the bus driver, the bus driver cannot see you. 
Always ensure kids know to proceed across the street, looking both ways for oncoming traffic. 
Drivers also play an important role in ensuring a safe start to the school year:
• School zones within the City of Barrie have a speed limit of just 40 km/h. For elementary schools on major roads, a “40 km/h when flashing” sign may be used.
• Leave yourself extra time for the first few days of the new school year to allow for stopping behind school buses. Drivers must stop whenever they approach a stopped school bus with its upper alternating red lights flashing, whether you are behind the bus or approaching it from the front. Do not go until the bus moves or the lights have stopped flashing. If you don’t stop, you can be fined $400 to $2,000 and get six demerit points for a first offence.
• Pedestrian crosswalks are likely to be busier with students walking and biking to school. Drivers including cyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in the crosswalk and must wait until the entire roadway is clear before proceeding.
• Construction projects may impact your usual route to school. Be aware of any road closures that may require a detour as you head back to class. The City of Barrie website has a list of ongoing closures.
• The Barrie Police Service will be conducting extra enforcement around school zones this September to make sure pedestrians and drivers are doing their part to promote back to school safety.

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