Campaign promotes road safety for kids

Danica Snyders, operations co-ordinator at Open Streets shows her support for the launch of the Safer Streets for Children Campaign.

The Safer Streets for Children campaign was launched last Thursday to raise awareness about the dangers children face on the road daily.

The campaign launched with an art installation on the corner of Klipfontein and Milner roads, outside the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

The art installation features 50 silhouettes, representing each child pedestrian killed on the roads in 2017.

The Safer Streets for Children campaign is a collaboration between Open Streets Cape Town, child safety advocacy organisation ChildSafe and the Safely Home Calendar initiated by the provincial Department of Transport and Public Works.

Yolande Baker, executive director of ChildSafe South Africa, said, “Our research shows that most of the children injured or killed on South African roads are passengers or pedestrians. They are injured or killed as a direct result of reckless or negligent driving by drivers who drive too fast, who drive drunk or take risky decisions on the road. Changing driver behaviour will save the lives of children.”

According to Lisa Kane, co-founder of Open Streets, the reality that at least 50 children died walking on the streets in Cape Town each year was an unacceptable reflection of a society that designed streets for cars and not people.

“There is an urgent need to redesign our streets so that drivers are forced to slow down and be more aware of the children and pedestrians around them,” said Ms Kane.

Hector Eliott, strategic co-ordinator of the provincial government’s Safely Home Programme said: “Research shows a direct correlation between speed and serious injury or death.

“Drivers should adjust their speed according to the environment and conditions, and particularly when they are near schools and other areas where children walk and play.”

Mr Eliot said Safely Home was 100% behind Open Streets and ChildSafe in this initiative and would be supporting their joint activities as part of their August road safety theme, “It won’t kill you to slow down”.

According to Ms Baker, Open Streets and ChildSafe will be convening a roundtable discussion on Wednesday August 22 with professionals, planners and designers to discuss ways to improve child pedestrian and passenger safety.