Road safety, sensible solutions the plan

At the launch of their schools' Road Safety Action Plan yesterday are (from left) Tom Warman and Ben Green (both 12), of Tahuna Intermediate School, Rileigh Anderson (10), of Musselburgh School, and Mereana Martin (10), of Tainui School. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
At the launch of their schools' Road Safety Action Plan yesterday are (from left) Tom Warman and Ben Green (both 12), of Tahuna Intermediate School, Rileigh Anderson (10), of Musselburgh School, and Mereana Martin (10), of Tainui School. Photo by Gregor Richardson.

The term ''safe as kids on skateboards and scooters'' may soon be used in the same vein as the term ''safe as houses''.

Pupils from Tahuna Intermediate and Tainui and Musselburgh Schools have been working together for much of this year to identify road safety issues near their schools, and have worked with their community to come up with sensible solutions to the dangers.

Yesterday, the three schools came together to present the fruits of their labour, at the launch of their Road Safety Action Plan.

Tahuna Normal Intermediate principal Tony Hunter said the plan was developed because the huge rise in popularity of scooters had been problematic for schools and the local community.

The number of children taking scooters to Tahuna Intermediate jumped almost overnight, from 10 to about 100, and pupils on scooters were sometimes creating safety concerns for road users and pupils, he said.

''Of course, they were just dropping them [scooters] in the cloak bay. People trying to get their bags were tripping over them.''

It was a similar issue for local dairy owners when pupils left their scooters lying on the footpath outside the door, he said.

So the school built a special shed to store them in while the pupils were at school, and guidelines were established to make sure they were parked in safe places in public areas.

Mr Hunter said the school also had pupils wanting to bring skateboards to school.

''Traditionally, we haven't allowed that. Our issues were to do with their safety.

''We had had students skateboarding on the road, not stopping at intersections and crossing the street on their skateboards.

''So we asked them to come up with a code of conduct, and they came up with a skateboard licence.''

It meant pupils had to wear high-visibility vests and follow road safety rules set down by the school, and there was a ''three strikes, you're out'' rule, which meant anyone who broke any of the rules three times lost their skateboard licence.

Musselburgh School pupils came up with a policy on scooter use in their school grounds, while Tainui School pupils investigated the issues of traffic speeds and parking congestion outside their school.

Dunedin City Council safe and sustainable travel co-ordinator Charlotte Flaherty said the work completed by the three schools was part of a programme of activities the DCC was conducting with schools.

Activities included the installation of pick-up/drop-off zones to manage parking issues, and the development of walking maps to show safe routes to school.

''Each school has different needs and will make use of a variety of tools from the DCC toolbox of resources,'' she said.

More cycle safety

All good stuff for kid safety. Now it would be great to reinstate two of the safety devices that the Govt. dropped from being mandatory - a warning device, and a rear reflector. Oh, and whip aerials with a flag were very visible, as well as wheel spoke reflectors.

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