School’s back, take care on crossings

by Anonymous Author

Selwyn District Council is asking drivers to stay alert for children as schools return during the coming week.

Over 9,500 Selwyn children will be travelling to school from Monday, 29 January, up from 8,000 in 2017. 

Many of these young people will be getting off and on school buses, in and out of cars and walking, biking and scootering to and from school.

Council School Road Safety Coordinator Stephanie Hautler reminds drivers that the only time drivers must stop for pedestrians is on a pedestrian (zebra) crossing, at a school road patrol or kea crossing when the stop lollipops are out, and when pedestrians have a green man at traffic signals.

A crossing point is an area that has been deemed by Council as the best place for pedestrians to cross the road.

It may have kerb build outs to shorten the crossing distance and some may have a pedestrian refuge in the middle of the road to cross the road in stages.

Pedestrians need to stop, look and listen before crossing the road at a cross point and just like any other section of road, vehicles have the right of way. 

“I often see drivers stopping to let children cross at cross points. Although drivers may think it’s courteous stopping in the lane, it’s incredibly dangerous and setting our children up for failure. Children may develop an expectation that all vehicles will stop for them,” says Mrs Hautler.

“It is unsafe to stop in a live lane of traffic and you run the risk of being rear-ended or worse, being shunted into the very pedestrian you were trying to help”.

Mrs Hautler says that if a vehicle stops on a crossing point, pedestrians should wave them on and wait for a gap in the traffic to cross safely.

Key tips for children and parents getting ready for the school year include:

• Be bright, be seen on your way to school, ask your school for a safety vest.

• Tackle the routes with your child talking about sneaky driveways and blind corners.

• Get out and active together to reduce the chaos at the school gate.

• Wear your helmets, this goes for caregivers too, young people are watching you! Road safety educational resources for parents and children are available from Selwyn District Council.

Email stephanie.hautler@selwyn.govt.nz or phone 03 347 2705