Step up for safe streets

Children can be wonderful activists when it comes to road safety. Here are some ideas to get them involved in keeping our streets safe.

We all know how important it is to keep our tamariki safe, and being cautious on and around our roads is an important part of this. It’s not just about being responsive, but about creating a road transport network that minimises human error right from the start – this way, road safety can be optimised and deaths and injury prevented. Proven solutions include safety technology in vehicles and speed limits that reflect the safety of roads.

This year’s Road Safety Week, which takes place from 4 to 10 May, is about ensuring safe, healthy journeys. This means that when we choose to walk or cycle, we can take the journey in clean air and without being put at increased risk. The theme “Step Up for Safe Streets” is one we can all take an active part in, particularly when it comes to taking a “Step up and shout out!” approach to road safety.

Stepping up at an individual level means pledging to use roads safely, minimise vehicle use, and shout out for safe system solutions. Schools can enable children to learn about road safety, and organisations can design their policies and procedures around safe systems solutions. Promoting safer, more responsible road use throughout the community may prevent the tragic road incidents that can devastate families.

Brake is a nationwide road safety charity that works to prevent road death and injury, to make streets and communities safer and to support the victims of road crashes. Caroline Perry, Brake’s NZ Director, says, “Road Safety Week is a fantastic opportunity to engage your school or centre community in the crucial issue of road safety. Children can be fantastic road safety leaders and spokespeople, with ideas about the dangers of roads and ways to make them safer.”

Road safety week activities

Road safety week activities

• Teach children about child safety seats, the importance of holding hands near roads, and wearing a helmet when riding a bike or scooter.

• Talk about zebra crossings, looking both ways, traffic lights and pedestrian signals.

• Beep Beep! Days are fun days for preschool children, with activities to help them engage with road safety basics while raising awareness among parents and the wider community about protecting children on the roads. National Beep Beep! Day is on Wednesday 6 May.

Primary and older children

• Hold a road safety awareness assembly, or talk to children about their opinions on road safety to devise activities for the week.

• Integrate road safety learning into drama or geography lessons, make a display or run a campaign to improve an unsafe road in your area.

• Another effective idea for older children during Road Safety Week is a media photo call. Find out how many people were killed or injured on the roads in your region in the last year and arrange for that number of people
to lie down somewhere safe like the school playground. This can send a strong visual message to your community about doing their part to keep roads safe.

Brake coordinates nation Road Safety Week each May. It is also fundraising to improve support for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. To support Brake, go to Support books for children and adults bereaved in road crashes are available for free by contacting Brake on or 021 407 953

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