Some Coquitlam commuters got an early morning surprise today (Sept. 7) and it wasn’t coffee spilling into their laps on their way to work.
Several members of Coquitlam RCMP’s traffic services section were at schools in the city reminding drivers to slow down in school zones.
And some drivers who failed to heed signs to lower speeds to 30 km/h got a warning and a bit of a lecture for speeding past a school.
One speedster caught driving above the posted speed limit was told to be extra careful around schools as 32,000 students head back to class in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.
“You weren’t even making an attempt to slow down — not good,” said the Coquitlam RCMP officer who was using a radar gun to catch speeders.
The driver's license was also checked for a possible ticket.
In a school, playground or construction zone, the fines range from $196 to $483, depending on the speed.
"Police urge drivers to be extra cautious and watch for children on the roadway," stated Const. Deanna Law, spokesperson for the Coquitlam RCMP in a news release, noting the limit is implemented from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday on all school days.
"The safety of our students and teachers is always a priority when school is back in session. We all have a role to play in keeping students safe in and around schools and buses."
The Coquitlam RCMP’s Traffic Services Section will be refocusing their efforts towards back to school speed enforcement.
Officers will be conducting patrols and targeted enforcement around schools to help ensure the safety of students as they arrive and leave school property. Violation tickets for speed and other offences will be issued for anyone not following provincial traffic laws.
The enforcement will take place over the next several days.
At Alderson Elementary, there was a traffic enforcement officer on both Alderson and Gauthier avenues on the first day of school.
Some pedestrian activity was a bit risky, too, as youngsters simply crossed mid block to get to the school gate, creating a potential traffic hazard and putting themselves in danger.
Coquitlam RCMP is releasing a number of tips to help people be safe at this busy time of year.
Tips for Students:
- Use designated crossing points and follow crossing signals where available
- Remove headphones from music players and put down the cell phone when crossing the road
- When crossing major roads, make sure that all lanes of traffic have stopped before walking across. Often drivers in the middle lanes don’t see pedestrians
- Make eye contact with the drivers before stepping out onto crosswalks
- Dress to be seen — daylight hours are decreasing, so wear brighter colours or reflective material whenever possible
- Walk on the sidewalk, or if unavailable, walk on the side of the road facing the traffic
- Walk on well-lit routes with less traffic
- Always be aware of your surroundings
Tips for Drivers:
- Plan ahead, leave earlier to allow yourself extra time through School Zones
- Be alert to children near or around crosswalks and intersections
- If a vehicle in a different lane slows or stops in front of you, slow down or stop and ensure that no one is on the crosswalk before proceeding
- Always yield to pedestrians at intersections or designated crosswalks
Playground zones are still in effect from dawn until dusk every day.
If you observe unsafe driving behaviours in playground or school zones, please contact the non-emergency line at 604-945-1550, or use the Coquitlam RCMP’s Online Crime Reporting where non-urgent crimes are reported easily.
For more safety tips to ensure a safe start to the school year, you're encouraged to visit ICBC's website.