Highway Code changes – influence of child pedestrian training

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    Keith Baldock

    We deliver Child Pedestrian Training at Brighton & Hove City Council to Yr.3 (7-8 yrs.) at a variety of schools within the city. We were wondering if other authorities are still delivering CPT and their thoughts about the impact of the Highway Code changes with regards to hierarchy in responsibility?

    Previous to the changes, at times during the training we have already experienced impatient and rude drivers stopping to allow us to cross when we are trying to explain and instruct – and despite our trainers asking the drivers to move on nicely we have still had abuse. We understand that we may appear similar to a schools group and the intent to be helpful is there. I am worried with the changes not only may this continue, but if we were to impart the info to the trainees it maybe not fully understood.

    We expect the training to be part of a process of learning about road safety and independent travel (along with Bikeability) and whilst we wouldn’t expect children at this age to be travelling wholly independently there maybe times when on a school run for example children may run ahead of their adults, if a vehicle then stops for them at a junction they maybe tempted to cross without being wholly aware of any other moving vehicles or points of conflict. This would be further compounded by the physical size of the child and their ability to see clearly as I am sure unfortunately we may be all too aware with regards to previous accidents and younger road users.

    Our proposal would be that we carry on as is, but inform the schools and parents that the decision to cross if allowed to by other road users should be at their discretion and as such we would not be altering our instructions to the trainees. Your thoughts and input please? Thank you.

    Andrew Fraser

    The Highway Code changes aren’t dramatic. Most are simply in line with what should be happening, anyway. Once the initial (media-driven?) fuss has died down, things will go back to normal. I imagine that you are correct in not altering your instructions to trainees, although I am curious to know what exactly they are! As to the child running ahead and getting into trouble – surely that’s a problem the guardian should be addressing.

    Anne Hardy

    In Hertfordshire, Pedestrian Skills training, due to the age participating which is usually 8-9 years old, the children would always be advised that if a car stops for them, beckoning them to cross on an open road, they should not do so as they could not be sure if the traffic approaching on the other side of the road would stop too.

    As a statement of “non-intent” to cross, children are taught to take a stride back away from the kerb and reinforce the signal but shaking their heads “no” to the driver. Children are always advised that in any situation, if they feel it is unsafe to cross, they should not do so.

    With the changes in the Highway Code, the above procedure will be reinforced further to children so that if they do not feel it is safe to cross, they should not cross while using the statement of “non-intent”. Cars stopping to let children cross during Pedestrian Skills training is likely to become more frequent so this should be discussed from the very start of the activity.

    On an additional note, guide dogs are trained not to cross on an open road when a car stops for them. They will only do so on safer crossing places such as a zebra, pelican or puffin crossings so our technique follows similar thinking.

    Anne Hardy, Hertfordshire County Council

    Andrew Fraser

    Anne Hardy’s notes above contain excellent advice. Of course, drivers should never beckon anyone to cross, and not just at pedestrian crossings:


    In addition to the concern about traffic approaching on the other side of the road, my greatest fear is of a driver overtaking the stationary car, having misunderstood the reason for its stopping …

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