It’s that time of year again, when thousands of primary schoolchildren around the country begin their summer holidays. The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is asking road users to watch out for children when using the roads, as there will be an increase in children playing, walking and cycling on the roads.
Mr Noel Brett, CEO of the RSA had this message for road users: “With schools closing for the summer, there will be more children spending time outdoors. I am asking road users to be extra cautious when using the roads, especially in built-up areas. Look out for children who might be playing, walking or cycling on or near the road. Remember, children are our most vulnerable road-users because of their age and the fact that they are not able to recognise danger like adults. So make sure you pay extra attention when children are nearby and slow down to cope with the unexpected.”
The RSA is also making a plea to parents and guardians to teach their children about playing safely near roads and being road safety aware when they’re walking or cycling.
“Make sure your child knows how to behave safely on the roads.” Urged Mr. Brett. “If they’re cycling, ensure that they wear protective gear such as a bicycle helmet and high visibility clothing. If they’re walking or playing near roads, make sure they know that they should only cross the road with a grown up and only when it’s safe to do so. Get your child to practise the Safe Cross Code with you and use this when they are out using the roads. Children learn from what we as parents do so if you’re in the car, drive in a responsible and safe manner and always wear your seatbelt.”
For more information on road safety for children and the Safe Cross Code, as well as interactive games and videos, visit the ‘Road Safety for Kids’ section of RSA website, www.rsa.ie.
The RSA also has the following advice for parents and motorists:
Travelling by Car Motorists, be aware of children when driving, particularly through residential areas All children should be restrained when travelling in a car Select a restraint that is based on your child’s weight and height and is suitable for the type of car Remember it’s safer if children travel in the rear of a car Never leave children alone in a car
Walking: Small children should not cross roads alone. They cannot decide how far away a car is or how fast it is going Children walking on country roads should wear reflective armbands and bright clothing If there is no footpath, walk on the right-hand side of the road facing oncoming traffic keeping as close as possible to the side of the road Show your child how to cross the road by example. Choose safe places to cross and take time to explain why i.e. footbridges, zebra or pelican crossing.
Cycle Safety Make sure they are highly visible by wearing a reflective belt and bright clothes and wear a bicycle safety helmet on all journeys Check that the bicycle’s brakes, lights, reflector and bell are in good working order