WITH CHILDREN ACROSS the country due to return to school over the next couple of weeks, parents are being urged to think about their safety on their route to school and ensure they are visible to drivers and other road-users.
For the seventh year running, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and ESB Networks will distribute free high visibility vests to every child starting school next month. Speaking to TheJournal.ie today, RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdock said children are particularly vulnerable road users are they “don’t have the same hazard perception” as adults.
“So really the message is to get them as well protected as possible and make sure everyone is aware of them out there,” she said. The back-to-school campaign is aimed, in particular, at children who cycle to school as the number of cyclists killed on the roads this year has risen.
However the RSA is also encouraging parents to dress their children in high-visibility gear for the walk to school or the bus stop, especially in the winter months.
“Even walking to the bus stop, some of the bus stops are not much more than a pole in a footpath that says ‘this is where the bus stops’ and the lighting isn’t great around them, and they’re small and people aren’t expecting to see somebody small out there. The evenings will draw in very quickly, we can even see now the weather has changed for August, really as the evenings draw in, make sure the children are out there with the reflective clothing,” Murdock said.
“Thankfully, this year the numbers of school children involved in serious and fatal crashes and accidents like this has not been as bad as some years, but always one is just too many. What we do know is that if you’re wearing high-vis clothing you’re much more likely to be seen.”