School journey opportunity for pupils to learn about road safety
Motorists are being reminded to prepare for busy roads around schools as the 2016 school year starts.
The first term of the school year starts in early February for most, which means large numbers of children will be making their way to school by bicycle, scooter, bus, car or on foot.
Waitaki District Council road safety co-ordinator Elton Crane said motorists needed to be mindful of those around them near schools, particularly just before and after the school day.
“Whenever driving past a school at these times, motorists should slow down and demonstrate extra vigilance, since children can act in an unpredictable manner. “Also, be aware that you must drive at 20kmh when passing a stationary bus in either direction.”He recommended parents talk to their children about road safety while taking them to school.
“I strongly believe that the journey to and from school is the best opportunity to teach your children about road safety. To understand risk, children need to engage with other road users and learn to cross the road safely. These are skills that are needed throughout life.”Some Oamaru schools, including Fenwick, St Joseph’s and Weston, have road safety initiatives in place, with school patrol or traffic wardens on duty before and after school.
Tragedy could strike on all Waitaki roads, not just around schools.
“Anywhere can become problematic if people ignore the road rules or are inconsiderate to other road users,” Mr Crane said.
Meanwhile, Mr Crane said last year’s provisional national road toll of 321, which included several fatal crashes around the Waitaki district, was far too high.
“Any road toll is disappointing and as a nation we must continue to strive for zero deaths on our roads. The Safe System addresses safe road users, safe vehicles, safe speeds and safe roadsides. Each of these components are critical when aiming to reduce the road toll.”There has been one fatality as the result of an accident in Waitaki already this year. On Monday, Waikouaiti man Gerald James Cowley (67) was hit and killed by an out-of-control vehicle outside the Lagonda Tearooms on Eden St.