Guelph police to maintain presence around schools through September

Quebec school bus driver Manon Girouard was so fed up with people refusing to stop for children getting on and off her bus that she decided to film her route. (Video courtesy Manon Girouard.)

With students heading back into the classroom for the first time since April, Guelph police say they are stepping up their presence around local schools in September.

Officers on patrol will be looking for drivers speeding through school zones and any other unsafe driving habits that put children walking in the area at risk.

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“One collision involving a child making his or her way to school is one too many,” said Sgt. Ray Gordon of the service’s traffic unit.

“What you see is just the increase in the possibility of something terrible happening. With awareness and with education, we hope to gain compliance. And with compliance, we hope to save lives and avoid serious injury.”

Guelph police shared a photo of an officer conducting radar enforcement on Willow Road on Tuesday morning as part of Project Safe Return.

The initiative sees officers around schools for the first month back and while it’s not mandatory, Gordon said all members of the service have been asked to participate in the program as much as they can.

The primary focus of the project is speeding but illegal parking and illegal U-turns are other issues they hope to tackle, Gordon said.

“We’re going to be collaborating with bylaw to ensure parking enforcement is made a priority,” he said, noting that a child stepping out onto the road between parked cars is very dangerous.

Drivers are also being reminded to watch out for crossing guards on duty and stopped school buses that have their lights flashing.

Gordon said not stopping for a school bus is one of the greatest offences there is.

“At that point, children are very vulnerable. They’re stepping off sidewalks to either disembark the bus or to get onto the bus and it is imperative drivers stop,” he said.

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Guelph police are suggesting commuters heading to work or appointments leave for their destination a few minutes earlier than usual.

“Make that time up at home before you depart, rather than trying to make it up on the road,” Gordon said.

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