After a summer to remember, another school year has officially started here in BC. As usual, a lot of ink is being spilled urging motorists to keep the areas around school safe for students and walking families: drive slowly, obey posted speed limits and signs, and above all watch out for kids!
But how much of an issue is traffic safety in the school zone? HASTe recently helped engineering staff at the City of Vancouver prepare for an Active Transportation Conference in Montreal, Quebec, with a strong focus on school transportation safety. Upon their return, City staff shared some interesting recent findings.
Apparently, most accidents involving school aged children happen in the residential and commercial areas around schools. Very few acidents happen in the school zone itself – and almost all of those that do result in minor injuries.
So what does this tell us? Apparently, across Canada, we’re doing a good job at staying safe in school zones. Speed limits, traffic calming, dedicated crossing guards, safety awareness campaigns and a high rate of walking (well, compared to other types of trips) all contribute to make schools zones a pretty safe space for kids.
But our streets still aren’t terribly safe for children. They’re small, don’t always pay attention, and the consequences of an accident can be frightening. If only there was a safe place we could take them to learn and practice their pedestrian skills, somewhere they go every day…