This week, in our local news, it has been reported that a young child was hit by a car outside school. In this particular instance, a child was leaving primary school, walking out of the school gates and up the footway, to then have to cross over the road to get home. The problem here is that there are so many cars parked on the restrictions, the child sees no other choice than to cross the road from between two parked cars. The story unfolds as the child enters the road, neither they nor the driver see each other and they collide.
I leave you to think of that image for a moment. Just let that sink in. The collision. The affect thereafter. The potential injuries.
The roads outside almost every school are covered in parking restrictions that prohibit vehicles from stopping there at school times. No parking, no quickly picking up, nothing. So why do parents think it’s acceptable to break the law and continuously park illegally on these restrictions? These restrictions that have been implemented by the local Councils to help protect their children’s safety?
“It’s ok, I’ll only be 5 minutes,” thinks one parent.
“Well, everyone else is parking there so why can’t I?” thinks a second.
“There’s no Traffic Wardens around, so I won’t get caught…” thinks a third.
Because the extra 2 minutes walk from the parking area around the corner means that you’re late for work; it’s not an excuse. If the baby is hungry and won’t stop crying; it’s not an excuse. The 3 year old wouldn’t put on their shoes and coat, and proceeded to remove every item from your handbag whilst you were trying to get the family out and into the car; it’s not an excuse.
There is no excuse for ignoring School parking restrictions. There is just no excuse. Period. Zilch. Nada. Nope. Nothing.
In 2013, 6,396 pedestrians aged between 0-16 years were involved in road accidents. More specifically, 2,899 of the 6,396 occurred during school muster times. That amounts to 45% – a scarily high statistic. This is a number which must reduce.
When will parents/guardians begin to see the bigger picture? The “It’s ok, I’ll only be 5 minutes” mind frame would not be adopted by ‘just you’, one single individual. It is adopted by many. It is no longer just one vehicle parked on the restrictions. It is twenty. Twenty vehicles that are illegally parked along a stretch of School Keep Clear markings and within the Urban Clearway whose drivers have chosen to put their, and others’, children at an increased risk.
I don’t believe that parents would do this intentionally. What parent, in their right mind, would intentionally increase the risk of serious injury – or even fatality – to their children? None. But without obeying these restrictions, our children are continually being put at risk by their own parents.
It is time to acknowledge that there is no reasoning and no justification for this law-breaking activity that occurs every single day, outside every single school. How many children need to be killed or seriously injured before our mindset changes? What are we waiting for?