‘Courteous’ drivers concern parent

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Stopping to let a 3-year-old on a bike and his mother cross the road, might seem like a nice thing for drivers to do but what is it teaching the child?

Gore mother Laura Williams knows what her son Teddy is learning from the experience and she is worries about it.

Mrs Williams said she walked beside Teddy while he rode is balance bike to kindergarten.

We’ve been trying to teach him road safety . on a bike and his mother cross the road, might seem like a nice thing for drivers to do but what is it teaching the child?

Gore mother Laura Williams knows what her son Teddy is learning from the experience and she is worried about it.

Mrs Williams said she walked beside Teddy while he rode his balance bike to kindergarten.

“We’ve been trying to teach him road safety along the way as well.”

However, her efforts were being hindered by drivers who often stopped 4m or 5m short of the stop sign on Kitchener St, to let the pair cross the road in front of the car, she said.

Mrs Williams was concerned about this even though she knew people were trying to be helpful.

“It’s kind of teaching him the opposite of what I’m trying to teach him . . . which is, ‘In a battle with a car, you will lose,’ and ‘Cars don’t always see you’.”

After noticing cars would stop for him, Teddy had come to believe cars would always stop for him, she said.

“He has specifically even said to me ‘Mum let’s just go, they’ll stop, don’t worry about it’, which is pretty concerning to me.”

Her fear was Teddy would fail to stop for cars.

“It just takes one moment for him to run off on to the road and that’s it.

“I can see why there’s so many accidents per year with toddlers.”

One morning seven cars stopped short of the the intersection of Kitchener and Broughton streets to let the pair cross the road.

Even though she waved to the vehicle drivers to carry on, they tended to wave back encouraging them to cross.

Her plea to drivers was “obey the road code and be predictable rather than trying to be courteous and let us past all the time”.

“If they’re predictable, he can learn the rules of how cars operate.”

It was important Teddy learned he had to give way to cars, because when he visited a busier centre like Dunedin the drivers would be far less likely to see him and stop, she said.

Acting southern district road policing manager Senior Sergeant Paula Enoka said police encouraged parents to talk to their children about road safety.

“[Police] applauds parents who take the time to do so,” Sen Sgt Enoka said.

If parents found when they were teaching children about crossing the road that cars were stopping for them where they normally would not, police suggested parents waved the cars on to signal they do not want them to stop.

“You can also reiterate to your children that every single time they cross a road they first need to stop, look, and listen before they cross.”