Western Springs College – Ngā Puna o Waiōrea is a school that knows the importance of sustainable travel. As such we encourage as many students and staff to travel using sustainable modes as possible. But with a rather complex entrance area at our school, we do also need to make sure that all travel modes are safe. In general, whatever transport we are using, we need to be aware and considerate of other forms of transport.
Some perspectives that might make for a conversation between parents and students:
- Car drivers can put cyclists in danger when they have poor vision or are distracted from keeping their eyes on the road and their mirrors. As we change seasons, drivers can check they have clear sight and are not dealing with misty windscreens before they start out on the roads in the morning. The use of phone while driving (even when still) is illegal and dangerous, we send the wrong message to young people when we break rules like this. A student who sees people using their phone in the car will more likely break that rule when they start driving if they have seen others doing this.
- Also, a cyclist needs to ensure they can be seen easily and are riding in safe positions. Cyclists can look at adding reflective bands and bag covers. Bike lights are important too, particularly when riding closer to the hours of darkness. Students should be reminded that in school they should only be riding on the path past Waiora (not through the main gate past the flagpole). It shouldn’t need to be said, but … Wear your helmet.
- Pedestrians are put in danger when they are near traffic and not focused on what could be going on around them (e.g. phones and headphones can distract our hearing and vision). At crossings, driveways and through car parks we need to turn our attention to other types of transport around us. Be aware of where the safest crossings are.
- Parking and dropping off needs to be considerate of cyclists, walkers and buses. The opening of a car door into traffic can be very dangerous to a cyclist, either taking them out or forcing them to swerve into a dangerous position. Passengers should not be hopping out of the car while still in traffic, nor at a bus stop or yellow painted lines. A curbside, or diagonal, park are the right place for this.
The challenge is for whanau to discuss ways they could make both their own, and others journeys to school as safe as possible. If we make sure everybody is safe using their transport mode of choice we can continue to become more and more sustainable.
Jared Hockly – Travelwise