Motorists Urged to be Cautious as Schools Resume

Published: 28-May-2018

Waimakariri students head back to school next week and motorists are encouraged to be mindful of their driving, particularly when young children are around.

Child on bike Slowing down to 20km/h past school buses and watching speed during mornings and afternoons when children are going to and from school is critical all the time, but with school starting back for the new year, now is a timely reminder about speed and what to do around school patrols and parking around schools.

When driving around schools or children there are some important things to note:

  • Children cannot accurately judge the speed and distance of approaching cars
  • Young children cannot always locate the source of sounds
  • They tend to be far-sighted and have difficulty with side vision
  • Children's eye levels are lower than adults; they may not always be able to see around parked cars
  • They get easily distracted around other children and may forget to look for traffic

Speed past school buses

Passing school buses? Either way its 20kph. You must slow down to 20km/h when passing a stationary school bus, no matter which direction they are travelling in. 

Speed outside schools

There are morning and afternoon speed limit restrictions outside many schools when children are present and these are based on the environment and nature of the area.  They may include 60km/h variable speed limit signs, 40km/h when children present advisory signs or active school warning signs. 

These are to:

  • Provide a safer road environment outside schools
  • Reinforce driver expectations of the likely presence of children
  • Encourage safe and active travel to school

School patrols

School patrols help to keep students safe on the road by controlling the flow of vehicles and pedestrians at pedestrian crossings and ‘kea’ crossings (school crossing points).

It is a huge responsibility for the young students to operate the crossings and we rely on drivers to show courtesy and patience.

Parking around schools

The Council continually receives feedback from schools around ‘chaos’ at the school gate with many parents wanting to park right outside the school gate to drop off or pick up their child.  It’s not uncommon for parents to also park illegally, or block vision for other road users and sometimes other children who are wanting to cross pedestrian crossings.  We would encourage parents to consider parking further away from the school where possible and walking their child if they are not comfortable to let their child walk by themselves.  We appreciate that a number of parents have busy schedules but it is disappointing when we see parents who put other children at risk because of their poor driving behaviour. 

Active travel to school

If parents are keen to encourage their children to walk, cycle or scooter to school but have concerns about their safety we are really keen to hear from them as we can look at various options to help, such as working with the schools to organise walking school buses, looking at the routes they take to make sure the infrastructure supports safe travel and assisting with any education that will help children to make good choices when out and about near roads.   But we do need the support of the whole community to make our roads safer for our most vulnerable road users.