Petaluma police are reminding drivers — hurried parents, mostly — to be aware of schoolchildren walking and biking along Petaluma streets now that school is back in session after winter break.

Complaints from parents, neighbors and school officials started coming in early this week as schools reopened, Sgt. Ken Savano said.

The complaints ranged from speeding, failing to obey crossing guards and a variety of parking-related violations: parking in red zones, in front of fire hydrants, blocking driveways, being more than 18 inches from the curb, blocking handicap access ramps and blocking crosswalks.

"Most of the complaints all have the same underlying issues of students or parents not leaving with enough time to not be in a hurry, forcing them to drive or park in ways they would not normally do in their own neighborhoods," Savano said.

Police are asking drivers to behave as if they would in their own neighborhood.

Officers will conduct special patrols around school zones, Lt. Tim Lyons said. Stings will be conducted in areas that have a history of problems.

To promote bike safety, the department also offers free bicycle helmets available to anyone under age 18. Helmets can be picked up at the police department, 969 Petaluma Boulevard North.

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