Edmonton, AB,

AMA School Safety Patrol heads back to school

Back to school — with those three magic words, everything changes. The freedom of summer holidays gives way to the excitement of seeing old friends, wearing your new jeans and showing off that new binder with a built-in calculator. When you feel that crisp autumn air on your face it’s not hard to close your eyes and taste that feeling of being a year older, a bit wiser, an inch taller…

But September also means shaking off that summer slumber and getting your family back in gear. There’s shopping to do, lunches to make, and we’re all just a little more rushed trying to get everyone out the door in the morning.

Our AMA School Safety Patrol team is busy, too - gearing up for our 79th season of keeping school zones safe for Alberta families. As patrollers in every corner of Alberta strap on the fluorescent vest and pick up their stop sign paddles, we'd like everyone to follow these simple safety tips to get back in the groove:

Park. Walk. Enjoy.

With multi-tasking parents, school bus blind spots and distracted commuters, school zone congestion is a big headache for schools trying to keep our kids safe. We set a bad example by jaywalking or stepping out from behind parked vehicles. Rather than competing to see who can park closest to the front door, park a couple blocks away and enjoy a little ‘we’ time with the mini-me's. And if you want to win role-model-of-the-year at the PTA awards follow these Seven Tips for Safer School Zones from the AMA blog.

Feel free to click and download high-res versions of these images to use in Back-to-School stories.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

In Edmonton, school zone speed limits run from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on school days. In Calgary and Medicine Hat, school zones are harmonized with playground zones, meaning they're in effect from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. In Red Deer, school zones take split shifts around morning, noon and afternoon pick-up times.

Confused? Don’t be. The simple way to avoid tickets and demerits (or something much worse) is to reduce your speed every time you drive by a place where children learn or play. The difference between a collision with a pedestrian at 30 km/hr and one at 50 km/hr could be the difference between an injury and a fatality. Need a reminder? The free AMA Road Reporter app for iPhone or Android devices now gives audio alerts whenever you drive within 200 metres of an elementary school.

Got Wheels? Let ’em Roll.

Notice those strange markings on city streets? Part of sharing the road means understanding bicycle lanes and giving our two-wheeled friends a little extra space to pedal. Depending where you live there might be different rules, so keep your head up and play it safe. And if you or your kids cycle, always wear a proper-fitting helmet and reflective material. If you do break down on your bike, our Bike Assist service is just a quick call away.

Learn more about the history of AMA School Safety Patrol on our Facebook page or visit our resource page to check out the fun comic book and training video we use to keep our patrollers safe on the job. Check out the right hand column for a list of Back-to-School media events across Alberta.

Need more visuals? You're welcome to use these School Zone Safety Tips.