Over the past year or so, there has been a rapid rise in interest in pedestrian crossing flags. The video below takes the idea behind the flags to its very funny but logical conclusion, asking the question: just how visible is visible enough?
We here at HASTe are still ambivalent about this scheme, as it seems to put even more responsibility on pedestrians to "stay safe" while doing nothing to address issues like vehicle speed and distracted driving. Apparently we're not the only ones!
Carol Sartor, HASTe's North Shore Facilitator explores the benefits of "time well spent" at her job and with her kids in this week's special blog post. Read more after the break.
As we are entering the gift giving season, did you ever think, the best gift to give is your TIME? Many parents surveyed during the School Travel Planning process quote “convenience “or “on my way somewhere else” as the main reasons for driving their kids to school.
What effect does this have on the ones we love the most; our children? We rush them in the car, stress as we deal with traffic and then kick them out of the car to avoid getting honked at because we stop in a “no stopping” zone. School after school, the same hectic morning stories are shared.
Let’s make a New Year’s resolution to not reach for the electronics in the morning but take those extra 15 minutes and walk to school, or even just a few blocks from school. It is amazing what you learn during a short walk with your child; upcoming tests, classroom drama or fears, you name it. As children think about what the day ahead has in store, let’s give the gift of time to:
• mentally prepare for the day
• talk and share stories
• parent and provide guidance
• take in the beauty of your community
• breath in fresh air
• get some exercise
Once you give the gift of 15 minutes a few times and teach your child to be a safe pedestrian you may feel your child is prepared and ready to walk with friends. Now you get the gift of time back as you are relieved of your chauffeuring duties; allowing you more time to get to work, an extra cup of coffee or even for some moms and dads a nice long shower.
The gift of 15 minutes keeps on giving in amazing ways. Your child builds their self-confidence, sense of independence, becomes more alert at school and gets some exercise. You get a chance to create a stronger bond, the open lines of communication and provide the solid foundation for when they need help.
Start with 15 minutes once a week, and you will see how it makes everyone feel better, less stressed, less anxious and more open. You may like it so much you make it a part of your daily routine. It takes a little planning, but for 15 minutes, the rewards are priceless. Is your child not worth 15 minutes?
Carol Sartor, HASTe Facilitator at the City of North Vancouver’s Kids in the Hall on November 21, 2015.
(click to embiggen)
Interesting piece on the CBC earlier this week, on the old "Cars vs. Bikes" canard. Could the whole conflict really be nothing more than a failure of the imagination? Definitely worth a listen:
HASTe works in a field called Active and Safe Routes to School. We try to balance our efforts to keep kids safe on their daily journey, with encouragement to make that journey an active, and therefor healthy, fun and green, one. When something like this comes along, it's disappointing, because it tips the balance past the promotion of safety, and into the promotion of fear.
Find out more about this misguided new infographic after the break.
In less than fifty years, walking to school has gone from a normal, everyday occurrence, to a controversial act that is either courageous or questionable, depending on your perspective. During that time, road safety in North America has improved considerably - but children's rates of active travel, and physical activity and health more broadly, have decreased alarmingly.
Active and Safe Routes to School is a movement to turn back the clock on this particular issue. It recognizes that our children have lost things that are fundamental to their healthy growth and development - independence, freedom of movement, and a connection to their community - that we need to help them reclaim.
There's no magic bullet to get children and families out of their cars and back in their sneakers. We're working with schools through events like Bike to School Week, and one-at-a-time through School Travel Planning, to help them uncover the barriers keeping their students from walking and cycling, and work to overcome them.
But flashy efforts like Safe Kids Worldwide's interactive infographic are definitely not part of the solution: they fan the flames of fear parents have about their children's safety, and place the burden to "stay safe" on the most vulnerable members of our community.
So go ahead, click the link, and learn about the many ways children are at risk on their streets and in their communities. Then please, do your part, as a parent, driver, advocate, etc. to keep them safe - while at the same time helping them be active, healthy and happy.
And if you have a minute, drop Tamara Grider, Director of Public Relations at Safe Kids Worldwide an email, and let her know that more fear is not the answer.