September is a month during which children return to their schools. Some parents will have their very first contact with a particular school and its surroundings. Ensuring safety in these areas is an absolute priority.
When we talk about road traffic safety we reach for various arguments. While observing many discussions related to this topic I get the impression that some people are capable of saying that the casualty was simply “asking for it”. When we talk about kids, however, people seem to unanimously agree that they ought to be treated specially. This can’t be done by just talking with children or by forcing them to wear reflective safety jackets. It’s the drivers’ responsibility to look out for children and observe their behavior, not vice-versa.
It’s not difficult to figure out in which part of the city we may encounter the most children. September ought to remind us that the neighborhoods of schools are places where everyone should pay extra attention to children. The problem with streets that surround schools in Łódź is that they do not differ in any way from other routes which handle regular traffic. A common practice is to simply place a sign which informs drivers that they are approaching a spot where kids often stay. Such a solution is not enough. In such places adults must take full responsibility – not only those who are behind the steering wheel but also those who plan the road network.
In the vicinity of kindergartens and schools one can often encounter the T-27 road sign, which informs that a nearby pedestrian crossing is frequently used by kids. If we take a look at cities, which have already succeeded in ensuring safety in the proximity of schools, we will see that just placing such signs won’t solve any problems. In these cities the authorities understood that in order for a street to be safe for kids it must designed in a way which physically makes speeding impossible. The road network is modified in such a way that drivers have no doubts whether they have to slow down. As a result even if a child makes a mistake, for example while crossing the street, its chances of survival are much greater.
In this issue of our series of publications we will bring up the matter of complex and well-thought-out caring of road traffic safety in terms of children. Our program, which we hope will encourage residents, presents some examples of good practice and indicates what we can expect from both city authorities and road engineers.
Because we believe in the wisdom of citizens of Łódź and we are convinced that they are able to pick what is best for them, we shall continue presenting and promoting solutions which are widely used in the civilized world.
We encourage you to become acquainted with our publication “A different way – safety in the neighborhood of schools”, which is available at ISSUU.COM
Publikacja "Bezpieczeństwo przy szkołach" (kliknij), in this publication you’ll find (in polish)
“Safety in the neighborhood of schools” (click to proceed),:
Examples of well-designed areas in the proximity of schools, effective ways of reducing speed limits in such areas and exemplary costs of various solutions (author: Wojciech Makowski, auditor of the BYPAD cycling policy and an expert in sustainable transport)
Principles of organizing traffic depending on the type of street (author: Jarosław Góralczyk, administrative law attorney, member of the “Normalne Miasto – Fenomen” foundation program committee).