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Pedestrian safety first during October, Transport Month

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The JTTC teaches learners valuable road safety lessons. PHOTO: kaylynne bantom
The JTTC teaches learners valuable road safety lessons. PHOTO: kaylynne bantom

Pedestrian safety. That is the key focus for Transport Month – celebrated in October annually since 2005.

Premier Alan Winde and Western Cape Minister for Transport and Public Works, Daylin Mitchell, officially launched Transport Month at Belhar Primary School on Friday 1 October.

Transport Month is a government call to action for people to use public transport in order to address traffic congestion on the roads. Friday’s launch was also to revive the Junior Traffic Training Centre (JTTC) at the school. JTTCs are simulated road environments where children between the ages of seven and 10 years can learn how to use roads safely and responsibly without being exposed to real, life-threatening traffic hazards. Road markings have been painted on a tarred quad in the school and road signs are supplied.

Learners will be taught about the rules of the road and the meanings of different signs. The training, which will take place during the life skills class, will focus on basic lessons like crossing a road safely, walking on the correct side of the road, and other basic road safety skills.

Mitchell says the Safety in Traffic Education Programme (STEP), an initiative implemented in collaboration with the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) and the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), was designed in alignment with the life orientation educators’ work schedule and the learners’ workbooks within the school curriculum.

The school is surrounded by two busy roads: Stellenbosch Arterial and Erica Drive. According to Forensic Pathology statistics, 51 pedestrians were killed in the Belhar, Delft and Ravensmead areas from October 2019 until June this year, meaning approximately three people are killed in the area monthly or one person is killed every ten days.

Mitchell says the aim of the JTTC is to ensure that learners do not become a road fatality statistic.

“With regards to pedestrian safety, the highlight is to ensure that we get our children educated about road safety from a young age so that they do not become one of the statistics of pedestrian fatalities that we’ve seen in the province.”

Mitchell says schools can make a request for a JTTC or a traffic authority can recommend its establishment. “It can be set up at a school or in a community where a large enough concrete or tarmac slab is to be found. RSM (Road Safety Management) supplies the paint, brushes, mini road signs and other equipment needed once a request for the establishment of a JTTC has been approved.”

Alister Pedro, principal at the school, says: “We have extremely busy roads adjacent and running past our school and the children need to know what the rules are so that they are kept safe. Too many incidents have happened in the past in front of us and we even had one of our children who was killed on the pedestrian crossing a few years ago, so we want to prevent that.”

Learner Calib Samuels (7) says: “I have learned that when you get to a pedestrian crossing you must stop then look and if there are no cars then you can go.”

Mia Herbert (8) says: “You must look right, then left, then right again then listen for any cars and if there is nothing then you can cross.”

While Carla Bentin (7) says: “I will be telling my friends about the rules of the road.”

Winde concludes: “Provincial government is committed to ensuring that each person in our province can enjoy a safe commute, whether walking, cycling, using public transport, or even driving. As we commemorate transport month this October, let us continue to be mindful on our roads at all times, whether we are the driver or the pedestrian.”

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