I have come to the conclusion that school safety zones (aka school zones) are evil.
If you’re not from Australia, you probably have no idea what I am talking about.
School zones are an area around schools which are sectioned to be a lower speed limit to help protect our children before and after school. It only operates between certain hours in the morning and afternoon when children are arriving and leaving school, and only in school terms. They are not enforced in the outside hours stipulated on the sign, or during school holidays. For purposes of covering the differing range of starting and finishing times of schools across the country, they are set for an hour and a half for each of the two time periods.
These zones came into effect following many children having been run over, seriously injured or killed on their way to or from school. Speed was a contributing factor due to stopping distances and impact force, and so as a result, it was decided to have a zone around the schools at a speed of 40km/h.
It’s a fantastic idea. One which has seen many children saved from serious injury or worse. I happily adhere to the speed limit as do many others.
So, why do I think they’re evil, I hear you ask?
Well, it isn’t the actual speed of the zone I get frustrated with.
It’s the parents in their cars picking up their kids!
School zones are hectic at the best of times but are made ten times worse when cars are banked up in the street, lining up to drive into the pick-up/drop-off zone right in front of the main gates in order to avoid having to park, get out of their car and walk.
A pick-up/drop-off zone is a small area designated immediately outside the main gates in order to pick-up or drop-off your children with a maximum standing time (no parking permitted) of two minutes and remaining within three meters of your car.
Guaranteed, the afternoon pick-ups are sitting there for a lot longer than two minutes because they’re sometimes there half an hour before the bell marking the end of the school day. The coppers would make a fortune if they ever turned up.
Believe me, these parents would collect their child a lot faster if they parked and either walked to the gate or their child walked to the car.
Not only that but those in the actual pick-up/drop-off zone keep others waiting if their children aren’t first out of the gate. Again, making them there longer than two minutes.
And a lot of the time, cars are parked instead of standing in this area.
It’s surprising just how many parents are too lazy to walk any sort of distance.
I avoid parking in the street where the front gate is like it’s the plague!
Now that my youngest son is old enough to walk alone, I park in the street behind the school and he walks to the car. Prior to that, I would park in one of the other streets and walk to the under-covered area near his classroom.
No joke, cars are lining up to get into the main gate pick-up/drop-off area all the way down to the end of the street and banking up around the corner into the other streets.
So bad is the situation that it is sometimes hard to drive away from the curb where I sometimes park (depends where there is a spot) without one of them moving forward to block me for what I can only imagine is fear of losing their place in line!
Most of the time, I have to push my way into the queue so I can leave at all! And I have driven away before the line has even moved since the home time bell rang at 3pm.
These lazy parents block the flow of traffic and hold up those who want to get to the driveway of their own house. I’ve seen cars drive on the wrong side of the road just so they can!
At other times, children will climb into a waiting-in-line car, of which the driver also drives down the wrong side of the road to leave!
One more thing these lazy-to-walk parents do is put children at risk which is the opposite of what the school zones are designed to do.
Everyone is responsible for their own actions, that is true. So, technically, those who drive on the opposite side of the road or put their foot down in frustration are not the fault of the lazy parents.
However, because the lazy parents block traffic and cause delays, they definitely create an environment ripe for such behaviour to be displayed.
Thus, children are at risk as well as other pedestrians.
Which is, as already stated, THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF THE PURPOSE OF SCHOOL SAFETY ZONES!
Personally, I think the pick-up/drop-off zone should only be a drop-off zone. As a pick-up zone, it’s not being used correctly or safely.
It should also be policed more often.
The safety of our children should be paramount. Obviously, for some, it isn’t. And because of the attitude of these lazy parents, school children are once again at risk of the very thing they’re meant to be protected from……
BEING HIT BY A CAR!
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