Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

A 3D illusion of a girl chasing a ball onto a street is the latest creative idea to remind drivers to slow down in school zones.

Called Pavement Patty, the artistic rendering of a girl on the road is a pilot project launched by BCAA and Preventable at two B.C. schools, Rutland Elementary in Kelowna and another in Burnaby.

Dr. Ian Pike, co-executive director with Preventable, said over the past decade, hospitalizations and deaths among child pedestrians have not changed.

Pavement Patty is printed in weatherproof, skid-proof vinyl on the street. A sign teasing, “In a rush at a school zone? Seriously?” first alerts drivers, then as drivers approach the optical illusion of Pavement Patty appearing to cross the street.

The illusion made its Canadian debut in 2010, and was considered a highly successful initiative in generating awareness of pedestrian safety for children.

“We have brought back Pavement Patty to remind drivers that even at low speeds, children can be seriously injured or killed,” said Pike in a news release.

“Slow down, leave the phone alone, and give the road your full attention.”

That message resonates with parents at Rutland Elementary who have been concerned for some time about poor driving habits of people traveling past the school.

Bree-Ann Edwards, who has children in Grades 1 and 3 at Rutland Elementary, said she was happy to hear about Pavement Patty’s arrival on Craig Road.

“I thought this will help bring more awareness to regular traffic who drive through here to go slow,” Edwards said.

She noted the school’s Parent Advisory Council parents spent time last school term monitoring vehicles both for speeding and parking near fire hydrants in the school zone when students were arriving or departing school, and the results were discouraging.

“Just on Wednesday of this week, we had parents monitoring out here after school and they waved down 10 drivers to slow down because they were speeding through the school zone. Pedestrian safety has been an issue with parents at our school for awhile now,” Edwards said.

“(Pavement Patty) is a good start but I think ultimately what would be best is to having flashing signs operating all year long to get drivers’ attention.”

READ ALSO: SCHOOL ZONES ARE BACK IN EFFECT

A B.C.-wide survey conducted last week for BCAA by Insights West quizzed elementary school principals and teachers, as well as parents who drop off and pick up their kids.

Among the results of that survey—80 per cent witnessed speeding, 73 per cent witnessed not stopping for crosswalks, 78 per cent saw parents encouraging their kids to do unsafe things such as crossing the road at a non-designated area, and 74 per cent said bad driving behaviours such as distracted driving or ignoring road rules are the same or worse than the previous year.

BCAA chief executive officer Shom Sen says the survey reflects how the message for drivers to stop rushing through school zones needs to be better heard.

“Children should be safe in school zones. It’s our responsibility as organizations, drivers and parents to take this aspect of road safety extremely seriously.”

  • 80 per cent witnessed speeding
  • 73 per cent witnessed not stopping for crosswalks
  • 78 per cent saw parents encouraging their kids to do unsafe things, such as crossing at a non-designated area
  • 74 per cent report no improvement in key driving behaviours, saying levels of distracted driving, ignoring road rules or traffic signs are about the same as or worse than last year

A staggering 56 per cent witnessed at least one near miss – a child almost hit by a car – this back to school week.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

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