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Safety first on our roads as school year starts

Local News

Fresh-faced students are on our roads this week as school gates open for the year.

And there are heaps of them: up to 70 per cent of students who attend schools that are part of NPDC’s Let’s Go programme are active travellers – walking, cycling or scootering to class.

“That’s a reverse of what we used to see before Let’s Go started, when most kids were arriving at school by car,” says NPDC Manager Transportation Rui Leitao.

“Kids heading off to school for the first week will be excited and possibly distracted, so we ask all road users to help them get to and from school safely by watching out for them and giving them plenty of room on the road.”

Drivers should also slow down to 20km/h around school buses that’s picking up or dropping off students, and park well away from school gates when dropping off or picking up their children.

Whanau can help by discussing with their children the best routes from home to school, especially safe places to cross the road. Doing a ‘practice run’ with your children will help increase their confidence.

Safety tips for whanau to share with children

  • Discuss together the best route to school.  
  • Cross at crossing points or at the mid-block of the street.
  • Be courteous by keeping left on paths.
  • Ride slowly on shared paths and make room for people walking.
  • Agree on a meeting point away from the school gates if you are collecting by car.
  • Most of all, get some fresh air and enjoy the journey to school! 

Safety tips for people driving

  • Remember school zones will be busy with children 7am to 9am and 2.30pm to 5pm. Avoid driving through them if you can. 
  • Slow down near schools. It’s about driving to the conditions, not the posted speed.
  • Slow down to 20km/h when passing a stopped school bus dropping off or picking up students.
  • Park well away from the school gates. You’ll avoid parking problems and congestion, and then can enjoy a short walk in to school with your child. 
  • Do not stop in bus parks or on cycle lanes, even with the engine running.
  • Avoid distractions while driving and look twice. Children can be unpredictable!