Belfast Telegraph

PSNI urge motorists to be vigilant as school term-time begins

By Claire Williamson

Motorists are being urged to be vigilant and exercise caution on the roads as the summer holidays come to an end increasing traffic levels across Northern Ireland as term time begins.

As the new school and college terms are about to begin police are urging parents and road users to plan ahead for busier rush-hours and heavier traffic.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “As the new academic term begins, it is essential that all road users remain focused on their driving, plan their journey and leave plenty of time as there will be delays."

Drivers are being asked to keep an eye out for children and young people on bicycles or on foot - particularly when close to schools, junctions and at bus stops.

The Assistant Chief Constable also highlighted the importance of parents teaching their children how to cross the road safely.

He said: "Parents should ensure that high visibility clothing and bags are worn and carried by children and that road safety instruction is given, in particular, how to cross the road safely – looking both ways without being distracted by friends, mobile phones or music players. Pupils should also only cross where it is safe, preferably at pedestrian crossings.

”It is important that they cross precisely at these locations and not take the risk of crossing even a short distance away. They should also be aware that it’s better to miss the bus and be late as opposed to taking their chances by running across roads to catch a bus."

Commuters are also being urged to take care around children and young people on bikes whose movements can be "inexperienced and unpredictable".

"Children and young people on bikes can often be inexperienced, unsteady and unpredictable.

"Slow down and allow at least three feet of passing distance between your vehicle and the bicycle. If your child rides a bicycle to school, require that they wear a properly-fitted bicycle helmet on every ride and that bicycles have been fitted with appropriate lighting.”

The Assistant Chief Constable also appealed for parents carrying out the school run to slow down and ensure that they stay well within the speed limits and that children travelling to school in cars are properly restrained.

He said: “In a crash at just 30mph, an unrestrained child can be thrown forward with a force 30 to 60 times their body weight. This means that they would be thrown about inside the vehicle, injuring them and quite possibly seriously injuring or even killing other passengers. They are also likely to be ejected from the car through one of the windows.

“Police will be paying special attention close to schools in the first few weeks of term and where offences are noted, whether for speeding, inappropriate parking around schools or allowing children to travel unrestrained, will be issuing advice, guidance, warning and when appropriate, fixed penalty tickets which carry three penalty points."

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