Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why did the Minister Cross the Road?

You have to feel a little bit sorry for Mike Penning. Being Road Safety Minister in the Coalition is a lot like being Minister for Open Government in North Korea. Penning's colleagues are slashing the road safety budget and cutting the police, and he'll have to stand by and do very little because anything that interferes with a car owner's right to drive where, when and how fast he likes is "War on the Motorist".

The best he can do is launch a partnership between the THINK! child road safety campaign and four football clubs.

The new initiative will focus on helping six to 11-year-olds learn how to find safe places to cross the road after evidence showed that this is a key factor in helping children stay safe on the roads.

That should help them avoid the motorists who can speed with impunty now the speed cameras have been unplugged. As for football clubs - Blackburn Rovers, Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion and Leeds United - I hope the kids are also keeping a special look-out for footballers - hardly a day seems to go by without another one getting convicted for a driving offence or crashing a super-powerful car.

A little personal anecdote here. A friend's 11-year-old son does not know how to cross roads. That's because he's always been driven almost everywhere, so he's never had the need. Crossing roads is a difficult skill for children to learn, and they won't learn it sitting on a sofa or in a car - or at a football club for that matter. It's a little-understood consequence of the 'cotton-wool society' that kids are no longer able to learn basic skills of risk assessment because they're so seldom out on their own. The more dangerous the roads are, the more protective parents feel compelled to drive their nippers around, and the less kids are able to cope with roads.

No comments:

Post a Comment