School takes road safety message to streets

A North Canterbury protest has highlighted the need for drivers to slow down outside schools.

About 50 pupils and parents at Swannanoa School walked about one kilometre to their Tram Rd school yesterday morning as part of a "walking bus" protest.

"Road safety just doesn't exist outside many rural schools, where some are situated on roads with speed limits as high as 100kmh," North Canterbury mother Lucinda Rees said. Speed limits outside schools ranged from 20kmh to 100kmh.

Rees called for the Government and Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee to establish a consistent speed limit throughout the country of 40kmh or less in busy times.

"I hope that he's watching and I hope that he's aware that there's a lot of people supporting [this cause].

"We have to think about the kids, not the drivers," she said.

The protest was part of Road Safety Week, launched across New Zealand yesterday by a new road-safety charity, Brake. Chief executive Mary Williams said road safety should concern everyone.

"It doesn't take much to imagine the horror of being told that a loved one is never coming home again, when you fully expected them to walk through the door any minute, or that a loved one is permanently brain damaged or will spend the rest of their life in a wheelchair," she said.

Figures show 284 people were killed on the roads last year and 97 so far this year.

The Press