North Vancouver student hit by car as drivers fail to get back-to-school message
Police across B.C. are shaking their heads as dazed summer drivers aren’t adapting to the new school year.
A back-to-school blitz of information, warnings and street patrols didn’t prevent drivers from breaking the law around schools Tuesday, the first day back for most students.
In the most serious case, a 15-year-old Windsor Secondary student was injured when he was run down in a North Vancouver crosswalk near his school with the crossing lights flashing.
“The student did everything right,” said RCMP Cpl. Richard De Jong.
“He pushed the button, he waited for the lights, and he crossed in the crosswalk. In the blink of an eye, things can change so quickly.”
The student was crossing Mount Seymour Parkway, walking by cars stopped in the curb lane, when a driver in the inside lane struck him.
“He was hospitalized with cuts and scrapes, but it could have been a lot worse,” said De Jong, who said the 79-year-old woman driver was ticketed for failing to yield to a pedestrian.
“It speaks to driver error, to not paying attention. She may have been distracted,” said De Jong, who noted officers will continue monitoring school zones.
“I know our officers were out in force, and we will be out all week.”
In Abbotsford, Const. Ian MacDonald said a school-zone blitz resulted in 34 tickets issued, including two for excessive speed, more than 70 km/h in a 40-km/h school zone.
“How many clues are you missing?” MacDonald said of drivers speeding around schools as police watch their every move.
“We did a lot of advance publicity, you have all those yellow signs, and you have cops.”
MacDonald figures the public won’t have much sympathy for the two drivers ticketed for speeding.
“To do 70-plus,” said MacDonald, “I don’t think anyone will feel bad that they lost their vehicles for seven days and got a $400 ticket.”
Vancouver Police Const. Brian Montague said students may be distracted, so drivers shouldn’t be.
“Sometimes the kids aren’t paying attention, so we need drivers to pay extra attention,” said Montague.
He said that in Vancouver, “for the most part, people are following the speed limits in school zones.
“We don’t want to write tickets, but we have no time for people who are risking the lives of students.”
West Vancouver Police Const. Jeff Palmer said officers focused on school zones issued nine tickets for speeding.
“Well have special focus for the next two weeks to hammer home that school is back,” said Palmer, noting that drivers were assessed at least a $196 fine for their infractions.
Palmer said teams of volunteers also manned “SpeedWatch” stations that display a vehicle’s actual speed without issuing tickets. A partnership with ICBC, the SpeedWatch vehicles sometimes have unformed backup if drivers don’t get the message.
“Sometimes we’ll set up what we call, ‘Second Strike,’ where there’s an officer waiting down the road who can ticket individuals,” said Palmer. “That kind of deals with drivers who think they should get off with just a warning.
“With ‘Second Strike’ we can say, ‘You already had your warning.’ ”
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