Stay safe heading back to school SA

24 July, 2023

RAA is urging motorists to take extra care on our roads as 280,000 students head back to school this week – as data shows pedestrian and cyclist crashes involving minors peaks around school pick up and drop off times. 

More than a third of lives lost and injury crashes involving cyclists or pedestrians under the age of 18 occur between 8am – 9am and 3pm – 4pm, according to an analysis of Department of Infrastructure and Transport (DIT) data for the five-year period between 2018 and 2022.

Over the five-year period, seven lives lost were pedestrians and cyclists under the age of 18 with an additional 476 incurring injuries.

Senior Manager of Safety Charles Mountain said RAA was urging drivers to stay alert, particularly as children and students begin to populate footpaths, bike lanes and roads across the state for the next school term.

“It’s the responsibility of drivers and riders to look out for children around schools and on nearby roads and motorists should regularly check all mirrors and blind spots – it may just save a life” Mr Mountain said. 

“With around 280,000 students going back to school, road users should expect increased traffic and more children to be present within school zones and at children’s crossings. 

“Motorists should take extra care around school zones. Children are some of our most precious and vulnerable road users, and we all need to look out for them whether they’re being dropped off, riding or walking to school.

“Watch out for cyclists when passing, remember to allow a minimum passing distance of 1.0m on roads when the speed limit is 60km/h or lower.

“On higher speed roads, the minimum passing distance is 1.5m.  As a driver you must give way to any cyclists and pedestrians that may be about to cross the road that you’re turning into.

“Also, watch out for mid-block pedestrian crossings on major roads which will be activated more frequently particularly in the morning and afternoon as children and parents travel to and from school.

“Be prepared to stop when the lights change to yellow as long as it is safe to do so to help keep our children and all road users safe.

“The many road rules can be overwhelming for young school children so motorists need to take extra care around our most vulnerable road users.

“The RAA has an education program to help educate children about road safety and conducted school visits across the state.

“We have a Street Smart Primary program and hold an annual Street Smart High event to help younger road users and new drivers to understand their responsibility as road users while learning road safety skills and knowledge.”

Mr Mountain said as winter continues, the morning rush for school drop-offs is likely to have extra challenges including reduced visibility because of cloudy, wet and in some locations, foggy conditions.  

“Make sure you have your headlights on during dull winter conditions,” Mr Mountain said.