The recent death of a seven-year-old boy south of Calgary saddened me, as this death was entirely preventable. My belief is that confusion surrounding bylaws within differing municipalities is partly to blame.
School buses come equipped with standard safety apparatus. However, larger cities in our province have chosen not to utilize school bus safety features.
My family moved to Red Deer 2 ½ years ago, and I was appalled when the school bus stopped to let my children on and did not use flashing lights. Vehicles also passed the bus on the left hand side during loading/unloading.
I phoned to complain only to be told that this was allowed by the city bylaw. I was told this was in the interest of keeping the traffic flowing.
Are you kidding me? Traffic flow?
I personally believe that we have sacrificed the safety of our children in the interest of traffic flow and driver convenience.
So what if you get behind the school bus and have to stop at every bus stop! How late would this really make you?
But passing a school bus was OK, I was informed, as children are always picked up and dropped off on the righthand side, so they don’t have to cross the street.
Children should be picked up on the righthand side, with the lights flashing, with all drivers having to stop.
Our children’s safety should not be sacrificed for traffic flow.
I understand in rural communities that pick up/drop off is not always possible on the right, flashing lights are used in rural settings and, in this recent case, flashing bus lights were used.
However, I’ve seen the confusion with drivers in the city stopping behind a school bus as children board, only to have the vehicle behind them pull out and pass.
Let’s just stop for school buses and help prevent this type of tragedy.
The 15-20 seconds this takes is entirely worth it.