Lucinda Rees argues for a 30kmh speed limit outside
schools at their busy times.
Every child should have an innate right to a safe journey to
and from school, but it's easy to forget that something as
innocent as this journey can be a minefield for pupils.
Especially when they are in the company of friends, or
wanting to join their friends as Junior Ianuali (6) appears
to have been trying to do recently when killed outside
Cannons Creek School, Porirua.
It appears the car that hit him was unlikely to have been
speeding in the 50kmh zone, but few children would survive
being hit by a car at that speed.
At 50kmh, the average car would travel 13m while the driver
reacts, and then the car would travel another 15m while
If a 30kmh speed limit had been in place in the Cannons Creek
School zone, this tragedy may well have had a different
outcome. At 30kmh, the car would have travelleda total of
13m, perhaps not hitting Junior at all.
The World Health Organisation recommends 20kmh or 30kmh
outside schools and play areas. It considers these areas of
the roading system as places where children can make a
mistake without it being their last one.
No matter how well children, and even teenagers, are taught
about road dangers, when they are near their mates, their
brains often go to mush. Also, children's brains are not
developed enough to be able to judge the speed of vehicles.
The NZTA and Ministry of Transport on their websites have
lots of information about Safer Journeys, but you will
struggle to find any mention of safe speeds near
It is obviously just inconvenient for children to behave so
unpredictably, yet as adults we should nurture them and give
them space to make mistakes.
The website is all about grown-up stuff, about how
responsible adults are doing their utmost to not cause
drivers any inconvenience. I would always rather slow down
and miss an appointment than hit a child and I can't think of
anyone who wouldn't do the same.
The Associate Minister of Transport, Simon Bridges, tells me
a consistent speed limit outside schools isn't feasible, as
did Steven Joyce as minister of transport before.
A consistent speed limit should be in place outside all
No school should have more than 70kmh outside their gates and
all schools should have a consistent speed limit of no more
than 30kmh during busy periods as recommended.
Roads need to be narrowed outside schools, to make drivers
want to slow and - apart from the usual signs - paint on the
road should alert drivers they are entering a school zone.
A consistent speed limit of 30kmh during busy times will save
• Linda Rees is a school speed limit campaigner from