City applauds efforts to increase child road safety awareness

Foundation phase learners at the Constantia Primary School will be pedalling their way to safety with the completion of a new play area and cycle track.

The City of Cape Town’s Road Safety Education team will soon take foundation phase learners through their paces at the Constantia Primary School. The school boasts a brand new kindergarten play area, with a tricycle track and other road safety elements. Built in 1910, the school is home to nearly 400 learners. The play area, upgraded through sponsorships and donations secured by the Sporting Chance Foundation, was officially opened recently.

Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith attended the ribbon-cutting event on behalf of his Transport colleague, Alderman Felicity Purchase. The Cape Town Traffic Service’s Road Safety Education team will visit the school regularly to teach learners about road safety. Key messages will include: How to cross the road safely, What to do in a vehicle when you are a passenger, Safe areas to play, Safe areas to cross-roads, and what to wear when cycling.

“The upgrade to the play area allows the children to have fun, while learning some very important life and safety lessons to boot. I think the tricycle tracks could be useful tools for learning on school playgrounds across the city, but also just a general focus on road safety. The road safety education officers within our Traffic Service conduct outreaches all year round, so any additional initiatives to improve children’s understanding of road safety are welcomed,” said Alderman Smith.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, children under the age of 18 are twice as likely to be killed on South African roads, compared to elsewhere in the world. Statistics compiled by the Road Traffic Management Corporation, show that children (0 – 19) accounted for 21,2% of all pedestrian fatalities in 2017 and 16,3% of passenger fatalities.
“We have a poor track record with road safety in South Africa, and children are most vulnerable. Education is an important aspect, but as adults, we should also model the way for children. Our enforcement statistics suggest a less than healthy attitude towards the rules of the road and safety in general, which is of grave concern as these attitudes and behaviours are passed down to children who witness the behaviour of their parents, caregivers or adults in general. Food for thought, indeed,” added Alderman Smith.

The Area South Road Safety Education Team visits schools on a weekly basis, where qualified Traffic Officers present lectures on road safety matters. In the 2018/19 financial year, the team has: visited 128 schools and trained about 33 600 learners; visited 54 educare centres and trained around 2 430 learners; hosted 5 880 learners for road safety education and training at the junior traffic training centre at Hillstar Driving Licence Testing Centre; provided training to 84 scholar patrol teams; and conducted 4 521 oversight visits of scholar patrols.