A primer on back-to-school safety


If your child is returning to school in September, take some time to consider the best transportation options for your family. If you are not putting your student on a school bus, here is a list of tips and resources to help you plan a commute that is safe for everyone.

Crossing guard

Benefits of walking or biking to school

Children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Finding ways to fit this into a daily routine is hard for busy families. Walking or biking to school helps solve this issue and both are easy ways for children to become more independent, spend time outdoors and, in many cases, save time.

Children who walk or bike to school on a regular basis also benefit in the classroom with:

    • improved concentration
    • better stress-coping abilities
    • reduced feelings of isolation
    • increased social interaction

Other benefits include reduced traffic congestion in school zones and reduced greenhouse-gas emissions.

Visit School Active Transportation for more information.

It’s a COVIDWise thing to do

Many young people are far less active today than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Active transportation, such as walking or cycling to school, is an excellent way for the student in your life to be more active.

COVID-19 has been stressful for everyone. That walk or bike ride to school can reduce stress and improve the overall mental well-being of the student in your life.

Visit Being Active During COVID-19 for more information.

Getting started

Parents, always remind your children to:

    • Walk on available sidewalks
    • Cross only at intersections
    • Use Pedestrian Crossovers, or PXOs, when they’re available

Visit Road Safety for more tips for drivers and parents

School transportation authorities have resources to help with:

    • Walking routes for specific schools
    • Walk-a-Block maps for specific schools
    • Walking school buses

Check with your local school board and transportation authority about what your child needs to safely travel between home and school in a COVIDWise way. For most Ottawa students, that would be one of:

What's being done about speeding?

We have installed speed cameras as part of automated speed enforcement due to the ongoing issue of speeding in school zones and community safety zones in Ottawa. Speed cameras have proven to effectively enforce speed limits, increase driver awareness and decrease pedestrian injuries and deaths in other Canadian provinces and in other countries.

We have designated eight new community safety zones that will employ automated speed enforcement:

    • Watters Road in Orléans Ward
    • Longfields Drive in Barrhaven Ward
    • Bayshore Drive in Bay Ward
    • Meadowlands Drive West in College Ward
    • Ogilvie Road in Beacon Hill-Cyrville Ward
    • Smyth Road in Alta Vista Ward
    • Innes Road in Cumberland Ward
    • Katimavik Road in Kanata South Ward

Visit ASEOntario.com or more information about automated speed enforcement in Ontario.