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Postcodes to decide safe routes to school

“Excessive speed limits outside schools in New Zealand’s rural areas are far too common. The 30km/h sign that is to protect road workers is discarded on the ground at the entrance to Swannanoa School zone. Children have to cross the road to get to school, whil road workers are protected by Health and Safety. 30km/h maximum at peak times is required for children.”

So says Lucinda Rees from NZ School Speeds, who lobbies for consistent 30km/h speed limits outside schools. She took a photo of the road sign last week. “Encouraging noises are coming from the Ministry of Transport as they consider 30km/h speed limits outside schools. However progress is slow and rural children may ultimately be forgotten. They need to follow Vision Zero, where no road death is acceptable, even in rural areas in New Zealand.

Just like their urban cousins, rural children need safe roads to make their way independently to and from school. As the Work Safe mantra goes, we need to get school children home healthy and safe. This might bring New Zealand closer to being the best place in the world to be a child.”

Drivers are expected to slow to 20km/h when passing a school bus, which is often parked up outside schools. Ms Rees suggests: “At peak times either slow all traffic outside schools to 20km/h, as with the school bus rule or make it 30km/h so that drivers can easily slow to 20km/h when passing the school bus. Let us change the culture of drivers around children by putting consistent speed limits in place outside all schools. Let’s adopt Vision Zero.”

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