Motorists urged to take care this long weekend

Motorists are being urged to take extra care on Rotorua and Bay of Plenty roads this long weekend and next week when children head back to school.

Bay of Plenty district road policing manager Inspector Kevin Taylor said it was expected to be a busy time on the roads over the next week as families make the most of the long weekend before children went back to school.

He said settled weather had been forecast across the Bay of Plenty for the weekend so "no doubt outdoor activities will be high on the agenda". He said police fully anticipated increased traffic particularly around the lakes, beaches and tourist attractions.

"Whether you are going on a short trip or a longer journey, plan it well, allow plenty of time and show consideration while sharing the road."

Mr Taylor said after the long weekend the focus would turn to keeping children safe on the region's roads.

He said children were particularly vulnerable as they travelled to and from schools on foot and on bikes or scooters.

"There will be a lot of excited and nervous littlies starting school for the first time and many others catching up with their friends after the long summer break. They will easily be distracted; losing awareness of their surroundings and an appreciation of the risks," he said.

"Many youngsters also don't often have the ability to accurately judge speed and distance, particularly when crossing the roads. They may over-estimate the how much time they have to safely get to the other side."

Mr Taylor said police patrols would be increased around schools in both urban and rural areas and will be enforcing parking offending and monitoring speeds.

"Police staff will also be checking that all occupants of vehicles are wearing seatbelts and approved child restraints," he said.

"It is important that all motorists are alert, careful, considerate and patient. Congestion is inevitable around schools, so regardless of the posted speed limit drivers need to slow down and be prepared for the unexpected.

Children's safety is the responsibility of us all, not just parents."

Parents are also being urged to discuss with their children road safety and ensure their children have coats and bags that make them highly visible and the right safety equipment if cycling to school.

"I really can not emphasis strongly enough for everybody driving in and around school zones, and where kids are walking, to be mindful of the presence of children and keep their speed down."

He said a tragedy like hitting a child on a road was not something anybody wants to live with.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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