With the school year ending and travel restrictions starting to ease, a new BCAA survey reveals that many British Columbians are worried that increased traffic and more kids playing outside could be a recipe for disaster.
In the BCAA survey, conducted by Insights West, 79% of British Columbians expect more kids playing in groups near roads and 56% are worried about the potential for injuries or worse. Since COVID, British Columbians say that they have witnessed more dangerous play in their neighbourhoods. Specifically, 21% have noticed more kids paying less attention to the road, 23% have witnessed a child run out without checking for traffic and 13% have witnessed or heard about a near miss with a child almost being hit.
BCAA asks drivers to slow down and watch out for kids on residential streets. Parents and guardians can also do their part by setting a good example. Here are some tips to keep kids safe when playing or riding bikes around the neighbourhood:
- Talk to your kids about road safety and not playing on or near the road. Supervise younger kids and check-in frequently even with older kids.
- Teach your kids to ask an adult for help retrieving toys that roll into the street or driveway.
- Make helmets a rule. Kids (and grown-ups) need to wear them when using anything with wheels. For added safety, add lights and reflectors. Get more cycling safety tips for kids here.
- Dress your kids in bright, reflective clothing, so they’re easier for drivers to see.
- Show your kids how to cross the street at an intersection and marked crosswalk. Teach them to wait until the car comes to a full stop, look both ways and make eye contact with the driver before crossing.
- Remind your kids to never cross the street between parked cars, or in the middle of a street.
- If there are no sidewalks, kids should walk in a single file, away from the road, facing traffic.
Keeping our kids and neighbourhoods safe is a shared responsibility. To encourage safer, slower driving in residential neighbourhoods, BCAA is offering FREE Slow Down Kids Playing Signs to British Columbians – Members and non-Members alike. When well-placed, these signs remind motorists to pay closer attention to their surroundings when driving through areas where kids are playing.