Road safety

“Stay safe when school’s out”

Crash test - Sécuriète routière dans l'OrneOrne Council runs an annual programme to raise awareness among children about the dangers of travelling to and from school. The under-19s still represent one-sixth of all road accident victims, which is why the council has chosen to inform through a shocking, but thought-provoking, awareness programme.

Public transport is the safest way to get to school. However, the journey to school can still be dangerous. Most road accidents involve pedestrians and cyclists. In traffic, a young child does not react in the same way as an adult - they will take 3 or 4 seconds to distinguish the difference between a moving vehicle and a stationary one.

Accidents occur through poor awareness of the basic safety rules. This is why you should talk frequently about this issue with your children.

An extract from the “Crash test” DVD: safety when getting off a bus

Accident prevention rules

Young pedestrians

In town, they must:

  • use specially-marked crossings
  • look left, right, then left again before crossing
  • take a step out onto the road to clearly indicate to drivers their intention to cross
  • never force their way across

On the way to school, they must:

  • when there is no pavement: walk on the left-hand side of the road, facing the on-coming traffic
  • in winter: wear light-coloured or reflective clothing. Darkness is a major factor in road accidents as it considerably reduces motorists’ vision.

Young cyclists

Compulsory equipment:

  • lights (white or yellow at the front and red at the back)
  • a reflective device (white at the front and red at the back)
  • brakes (front and rear)
  • a bell

… and highly recommended:

  • a rear-view mirror
  • a pump
  • a toolkit
  • a helmet worn at all times
  • a safety reflector arm (this little flag, placed perpendicular to the bike’s frame forces to motorists overtaking the bike to keep a safe distance: 1m in town and 1.5 m out of town)
  • a reflective jacket (to remain visible to all road users during the day and at night)

Children in cars

Essential equipment:

  • seatbelt (compulsory at the front and at the rear of the vehicle, regardless of speed and distance: injuries may be fatal at only 20kph and 40% of children are killed on journeys of under 3km). The seatbelt will rest on the shoulder and not on the neck, and on the lap, not the stomach (for children under 10 years of age or who are small in size, an approved (European standard E) child seat is required)
  • airbags (at the front and the rear to protect the head and the thorax. However, it is ineffective if the seatbelt is not worn)

… and preventive action:

  • children must always get out of the vehicle on the pavement side
  • it is dangerous to put your feet on the dashboard or to store heavy objects (books, school bags, etc.) on the rear parcel shelf.

Children travelling by coach

When catching the coach, you must:

  • arrive at least 5 minutes ahead of time
  • never wait for the coach to arrive before crossing the road; wait at the assigned bus stop at a safe distance from the roadside
  • wait for the door to open before moving towards the coach and hold your bag in front of you

In the coach, you should:

  • avoid the most dangerous seats (the four seats at the front, the two seats next to the central door and the middle seat in the back row)
  • fasten your seatbelt if the coach has them (compulsory since 2003)

When getting off the coach, you must:

  • wait for the coach to come to a complete standstill before unfastening your seatbelt and standing up
  • never cross the road before the coach has moved on.