|3 October 2002|
Campaign to improve pedestrian safety at signalised intersections.
“When turning at the lights, respect pedestrians’ rights”.
A campaign to raise awareness of the need to give way to pedestrians, particularly children, at busy, signalised intersections near schools, is being launched next week.
The campaign, which will run during the first four weeks of the new school term, is a joint venture with the Christchurch City Council, Police, the Land Transport Safety Authority and Environment Canterbury. It coincides with Kidsafe Week, 18-25 October, which has preventing pedestrian injury as one of its themes this year.
The focus of the awareness campaign is on children’s safety as they are particularly vulnerable. Schools have reported ongoing concerns with the fear and intimidation experienced by children crossing roads while travelling to and from school. Joy Kingsbury-Aitken, the City Council’s Schools Co-ordinator, says that some schools are proactive and provide crossing supervision by volunteers and the children carry bright flags to make them more visible when crossing the roadway. But while schools continue to push the safety message to their pupils, there is also a need to raise awareness among drivers.
“The responsible driver doesn’t endanger a pedestrian,” says Kingsbury-Aitken. “Always give way. Don’t expect the pedestrian to get out of the way because they may not be able to.”
Council Cycling and Pedestrian Planner, Michael Thomson, says that many motorists are concentrating on the traffic and forget to look for pedestrians, or they see the red flashing person and think that the pedestrian shouldn’t be there.
“In fact, the red flashing person is like the amber traffic light – it means continue crossing the road if you have begun, but do not commence crossing,” says Thomson.
The Council’s City Streets Unit has identified ten school communities, all near busy intersections with signals, that have problems with motorists not giving way to pedestrians. These schools will be providing volunteer spotters before and after school during the campaign, to record the number plates of drivers observed not giving way to pedestrians. These drivers will then receive a letter from the Police informing them that they have been seen driving in a way that endangers children and outlining the potential consequences.
For more information: Contact Michael Thomson, Council Cycling and Pedestrian Planner Christchurch City Council, ph: 941 8950