Today is Walk Safely to School Day and parents, carers and teachers alike are being urged to encourage primary school children to embrace the day and walk safely to school.

Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said the annual day of walking safely to school was an important event that promotes a healthy alternative form of transport.

“Walk Safely to School Day is a great opportunity to spend time with our children and educate them on road safety by showing them first hand how to be responsible on and near the road,” Mr Pitt said.

“The idea of this day is to encourage parents and carers to walk to school with primary school children and demonstrate safe pedestrian behaviour.

“I will be walking to school with students from Gordonvale State School and then staying on to shadow Principal Bruce Houghton as Principal for a day.

“Walking to school not only has health benefits but it reduces the amount of vehicles on the road which in turn diminishes congestion and also the amount of pollution in our environment

Parents and carers are urged to make time in their busy schedules to participate in this national event and become involved in children’s road safety education, which plays an important role in developing children’s understanding of the road and how they can use it safely.

“It is important that parents, carers and teachers lead by example and ensure that they are teaching our children the correct skills so that they can use the roads safely.

“Teaching children to stop, look, listen and think when crossing roads is vitally important as is making sure they are focused on the task at hand and not are playing with friends or being distracted by phones or iPods,” he said.

The following tips can also help children travel to and from school safely:

  • Accompany children when walking or riding to school until they are old enough to understand road safety.
  • Ensure your child knows the safest route to and from school. This is usually the way with the least traffic and the fewest roads to cross and teach your child to always walk on footpaths.
  • Teach your child to look for vehicles coming in and out of driveways and discourage them from playing with toys or balls when walking to school.
  • Teach your child to cross at traffic lights when the green ‘walk’ sign is showing, at pedestrian crossings when vehicles have stopped, and at supervised school crossings when the supervisor has signalled it is safe to do so.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads is also urging motorists to take extra care and to be patient around schools due to the increase in children using the roads.