Willamette Pedestrian Coalition Walks with Kids
We're crazy for the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition, because its sole purpose is to make it easier and safer for us to get around by walking. How great is that? They describe themselves as 'an organized voice for pedestrians.' What do they do? Advocate for better laws (what laws?), enhanced enforcement, more sidewalks and signed crosswalks, education programs, community improvements designed for pedestrians, and increased funding to support all of it. Yippee.
We're thrilled that the WPC's new Executive Director, Lynn (mother of two girls) is partnering with Activistas to spread the word about pedestrian safety for kids & families. We're even more thrilled that she is taking the time to share a 3-part series with us on this critical topic. With gas prices through the roof and the impressive commitment in P-town to get out of our cars, her perspective and information couldn't be more on point.
Today Lynn writes about basic safety when walking with kids. Some of it is second nature, but for me, a little reminder once in awhile never hurts. Parts II and III in her series will address being a safe driver around pedestrians (when driving I need to remember that I'm a pedestrian, too!) and teaching your kids to be safe pedestrians. Or pediatricians, as my son says instead. Take it away, Lynn:
Just like the rest of the country I cringe when I see $4.15 on the gas station sign. I cringe not just because of the price of gas, but because I chose to drive and not walk. I spend a few minutes rationalizing why I drove and how I am “trip chaining.” Then I think about my recent trips on foot and feel a bit better.
Many of my walking trips are with my girls, and speaking of walking with children, when do you have to stop saying look left, look right, look left again. I have heard that at age 10 children start to understand the intricacies of traffic. My eldest is approaching that age, but I am still amazed, when she steps into the street without a glance in either direction. When this happens, I am thankful for the drivers who proceed with caution in my neighborhood, on the lookout for the unexpected child to dash into the street.
I also want my girls to be aware that not every driver watches for pedestrians. And I impress upon them that even at signalized crossing we need to be look over our shoulder and be sure the cars see us. This is especially important since we cross at a light on our way to school and cars frequently turn right on red, just as our pedestrian signal turns green. My girls and I are learning, they are leaning to be alert and walk safe, and I am learning how to teach them to enjoy walking, and to know the rules.
Will you be walking more this summer? How do you teach pedestrian safety to your children?
[Great pic from cafemama]