"Trips by car now account for at least half of all distances traveled by 10-14 year olds and this shift is believed to account for the fact that more children are killed today as car passengers than in any other form of transport."
Children are considered vulnerable road users because up to the age of approximately ten years they may not be developmentally ready (i.e. they do not have the physical and cognitive skills) to make safer judgments and choices of their own about traffic. Parents, carers and educators need to be aware of the skills of the children and plan road safety awareness in accordance with the child’s development.
Child pedestrians are at risk because physically they have:
Child pedestrians are at risk because cognitively they have:
Children may also be at risk because of their:
Protective pedestrian behaviours
To reduce the risk to child pedestrians, classroom and parent education should focus on children:
Addressing the above issues by driving children to and from school is a common reaction by parents. However, this decision is often made without consideration of the full facts regarding car travel.
Trips by car now account for at least half of all distances traveled by 10-14 year olds and this shift is believed to account for the fact that more children are killed today as car passengers than in any other form of transport. It should also be remembered that trips by car have an element of walking involved and this walking trip at the school end is often in a car park or drop-off/ pick-up environment with high risks associated with increased traffic and parking manoeuvres, including reversing.
Most crashes involving child pedestrians and vehicles are the result of errors made by children. Children under ten years of age do not have the necessary cognitive and perceptual skills to negotiate roads without adult supervision.
Most cycling injuries occur on public roads and don’t involve another vehicle, but occur when children fall off their bikes. For young cyclists a footpath or shared path is the best place to ride.
All-age cycling on footpaths is legal in Western Australia. Anyone can cycle on a footpath, but there are some conditions. See the Road Safety Commission website for more details.
David Wilkins, Principal & Senior Traffic Engineer.