Make Road Safety a Priority for Children

Published: Thu 28 Feb 2019 01:37 PM
Media Release Wednesday 27th February 2019 No Embargo
Make Road Safety a Priority for Children
Its school fair time at Swannanoa School on Sunday 3rd March and a 30km/h speed limit will be in force outside the school. This may not come as surprise to many, but this school is on a 100km/h rural road and this speed limit is not in force when children cross the road to get to and from school. Local resident Lucinda Rees from NZ School Speeds has been campaigning for consistent speed limits outside every school in New Zealand and wonders why a 30km/h speed limit isn’t in force when children need to cross.
Perhaps the excuse is that it is fine to reduce the speed limit for so many people so that the masses can safely cross the road while distracted. But children who walk or bike to school are forgotten. At Swannanoa and outside many other rural schools they cross the road when the speed limit is at a reduced 60km/h during peak times or if they are late at a whopping 100km/h. These are primary school children and they are easily distracted and not good at reading speeds.
Roading experts have told Ms Rees that you can’t have a 30km/h speed limit on a 100km/h road, despite roadworks regularly being reduced to 30km/h on all roads, especially in Canterbury following the earthquakes. And to the speed limit of 30km/h only being in force for a few hours on Sunday, she says: ”It’s great to do this for the fair, but its wrong to have protection for them and road workers, but not for distracted children making their way to school.”
Ms Rees would like to see the Government put a law in place with no more than 60km/h outside schools during the day and 30km/h at peak times as recommended by the World Health Organisation and with peak times going half an hour beyond school start time.
For years politicians have been dragging their feet and not prioritised child road safety although Minister for Road Safety, Julie Anne Genter assures Ms Rees that they are “committed to implementing safe speeds as quickly as possible.” Ms Rees’s response is: “It’s the usual wishy-washy Government response. Consistent speed limits outside schools are the key, as they would not only be fair for children, but would also make life easier for drivers knowing what to expect - unlike the mash of different speed limits outside schools that confuse and frustrate drivers.”
The school fair at Swannanoa School is a huge fundraiser and brings a lot of people into the area.
Rumour even has it that this year Richie MacCaw will be flying helicopters, so numbers could exceed past years.
Monday March the 3rd is also Childrens Day, so let us celebrate them and give them opportunity to become independent and safe road users. 30km/h outside every school at peak times and no more than 60km/h at other times of the day will be a start.
Every day should be Childrens Day and consistent road safety for them should be a huge priority.

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