Safe Routes to School Campaigns Launched with the Start of School

With the start of school in a number of cantons, campaigns are being launched to promote safe journeys to school. For example, the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention (BFU) publishes a picture book. Five organizations - including the police - are launching the "Stop for Schoolchildren" campaign.

Every year, 900 children and adolescents are involved in road accidents, 40 percent of them on their way to school. Four children are killed on average over several years, as the BFU announced on Wednesday.

Parents' cabs, however, are not the best way to prevent accidents. For children, the journey to school is an important factor in their social development. They also need to learn how to behave properly in traffic.

According to the BFU, the way to school is basically the responsibility of the parents. To prevent accidents, it is important that everyone involved pulls together. With the new picture book at both the school and home levels, the BFU offers a hand to this cooperation.

Among other things, the picture book shows that children are better off walking on the safe inner side of the sidewalk if they don't want to get splashed when it rains. In addition, it picks up the old principle "wait, loose, luege, laufe".

The rules are conveyed by the characters Lia, Luca and the parrot Pep. In the school version, the picture book is enriched with songs, tasks, games and other teaching material. BFU also advises parents to practice walking to school with their children and to choose the safest route.

Crossing as a source of danger

Five organizations are addressing the Stop for School Children Campaign to motorized traffic. Most accidents involving children occur when they are crossing the road. In 55 percent of cases, drivers disregarded the right of way of children on foot.

The organizations appeal to drivers to not only slow down, but to stop and remain stopped until a child has crossed the road.

Hand signals should be avoided. This was the conclusion of a survey conducted by the Schulwegkampagne. More than 50 percent of 1,500 regular drivers said that they almost always give a hand signal at pedestrian crossings. But this is not a good idea: if a child trusts the hand signal, he or she no longer pays attention to other traffic.

Behind "Stop for Schoolchildren" are the Swiss Traffic Club, Swiss Foot Traffic, the police corps, the umbrella organization of teachers and the Road Safety Fund. In addition to the national languages, the corresponding information is available in seven other languages. (SDA)

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