School days, busy days for kids

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They’re back …

Once again, our valley students are, as the saying goes, all in their places, with bright shiny faces.

In many valley neighbourhoods children are walking, biking, busing, skateboarding and being dropped off to engage in their studies, activities, social events, after school interests and athletic endeavours.

It’s worth reminding drivers at this time that our kids have a lot on their minds now that a new school year is underway and often their own safety is not top of mind.

Things may be somewhat chaotic in the areas near our schools in both the mornings and afternoons as kids enter and exit our schools, and drivers should be extra vigilant when driving in school zones.

If you think back to your own childhood school days, hopefully with fond memories, you’ll be reminded of the care and attention you paid to personal safety during school days, especially early in the year.

Exactly.

With new and old acquaintances to think about, possibly some trepidation as to what’s to come in a new grade, lugging around a backpack full of the day’s necessities, thinking ahead to lessons, quizzes and new teachers, you can’t blame children, especially the younger ones, for being distracted.

It’s up to drivers, then, to pay attention for them.

Slow down in school zones. Be aware that kids could dart out from between cars, or not be following the rules of the road while on bicycles, or crossing the road at locations other than crosswalks.

As well, school buses are back on the roads and drivers need to pay attention. Buses won’t be moving as quickly as you in your sedan or SUV, swing wider to make turns, and make stops all over the valley as they pick up and drop off Canada’s next generation of scientists, athletes, artists and artisans, tradesmen, emergency services personnel, bakers, entrepreneurs, moms and dads, chefs, lawyers, teachers, coaches, soldiers, business owners, medical professionals and heavy equipment operators …

Be patient and give bus drivers time to get around our towns and highways and make their pickups and dropoffs. Stop when they stop for kids, pay attention to their flashing red lights and barriers ­– take a few extra seconds to ensure bus drivers can get kids home safely – you’ll get where you’re going.

Kudos to bylaw
With dog and off leash dog issues continuing to plague the valley, it’s good to see Canmore bylaw staff out on foot, patrolling and handing out tickets.

Last weekend at a race at Quarry Lake, bylaw was handing tickets to those who insist on ignoring no dog signage on the way to the lake from the parking lot.

At virtually every sports event held at Quarry Lake, one will find dogs in the area, despite signage to the contrary – both on and off leash. With any luck, a more visible presence by bylaw officers, accompanied by word that should owners take their dogs to the lake they’re likely to pay for the pleasure, will reduce dog issues at the very popular recreation spot.

As well last weekend, a bylaw officer was making a round on the Engine Bridge path; a spot where, on almost any given day, dogs will be spotted off leash as owners ignore the rules put in place for the safety of wildlife and trail users alike.

As letters to the editor and court proceedings illustrate, off leash dogs continue to be a problem in the Bow Valley and it seems that enforcement, rather than education, is the route that must be taken.

Particularly now, with an obvious increase in bears in town looking to fill their bellies, it’s more important than ever to keep dogs under control.

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Rocky Mountain Outlook