Can children be adapted to road traffic?

What a child should be like to be well adapted to road traffic…..

…. Minimum 1,50 m of height,
….. having body proportions of an adult: with a rather small head and the barycentre around the stomach/pelvis area. Only then, a person doesn´t fall as much as children use to,
…. Having a vision field of 180°
…. Being able to do several things at the same moment and understand complex situations,
….having walking and sprint abilities of a well trained sportsman but needing to move fast and tumbling around,
…. Being always fully attentive and good at keeping rules,
….. being without passion for discover anything new, being fond of obeying.

No child can be adapted like this. Therefore, road traffic must adapt to children as they are in reality. Where kids are walking or cycling 50 km/h (30 mph) are definitely too fast.

Why 20mph School Safety Zones can have only minimum impact on child road safety 

 Take the UK, for example: The mean radius of school safety zones is just 300m, yet the mean distance travelled to school is 1.8km. Hence the school safety zones apply to only 17% of the journey.[i]  And at exit gateways to school safety zones drivers are reminded of an increase in speed limit to 30mph. No wonder, only a small minority of child road casualties occur on the way to or from school (Just 20%).[ii]

But what of the child who walks or cycles all the way from their home to school. The school safety zone now only works for 17% of their journey. For drivers isolated 20mph school safety zones reinforce and legitimise driving at faster speeds outside of the immediate school location, hence increasing the risk to pedestrian and cycling children

Instead of focussing on school safety zones we should be ensuring that children are given better conditions for walking and cycling for the whole route from their home to school. It’s time to recognise that we need community-wide safety for children and not just in the last 100m of their school journey.

In Germany, the number of children dying in road accidents while they were walking on the streets increased by 22% in 2010 compared to 2009.[iii]  We might always read figures like these unless we introduce 30 km/h (20 mph) everywhere where children live.

For more information see 20splentyforus.org.uk


[i] Transport for London: Safety of Schoolchildren on London Roads

[ii] 1 The AA Motoring Trust: The facts about road accidents and children

[iii] Statistisches Bundesamt (2011c): Unfallentwicklung auf deutschen Strassen 2010 –
press conference, Berlin, July 6, 2011 in Berlin.