Keep children safe on roads - warning as new school term starts

AS THE NEW SCHOOL term starts, children and parents have been reminded about the importance of road safety.

Motorists have also been asked to take extra care and look out for children on the roads, some of whom may be walking or cycling to school for the first time.

East Sussex County Council said parents can help prepare their children for the journey to school by talking through the importance of being safe on the roads, such as reminding them to ‘stop, look and listen’ before crossing at a safe place and rehearsing the journey to school.

Parents interested in extra training for their children should look out for information at their school about the ‘Footsteps’ and ‘Bikeability’ courses, starting soon.

Footsteps is a pedestrian training scheme for young children which aims to develop their awareness of roads. Children - usually from the reception class and Years 1 and 2 - are taken outside their school with a trained tutor and parent volunteers to observe local traffic and talk about road safety.

Footsteps helps children learn how to live safely with traffic and avoid accidents. They learn how to behave on and near the road, and to be aware of the dangers of traffic. Under the careful guidance of a tutor, children learn how to identify a safe place to cross and how to cross safely.

A Bikeability course gives children the skills they need for riding their bikes on the road. The aim is to encourage children to think independently and make their own informed decisions. Bikeability courses are available to children nine years old and above.

Most of the cycle training is on the road, with initial practice sessions in the playground. Most courses are run in conjunction with local schools, by council-approved cycle trainers, usually for a small fee.

County Cllr Carl Maynard said: “It is important that motorists drive safely at any time of year, but as children return to school we are asking people to be extra vigilant.

“The School Crossing Patrols employed by the County Council help make the journey to school safer. But parents and children may also be interested in our road awareness and cycling courses which can help children to stay safe as they travel to school. To be able to walk and cycle safely gives children some independence. It is also great exercise and can help to keep both children and parents fit and active.”

For more information on walking and cycling training visit: www.eastsussex.gov.uk/roadsafety