Report numberRA-2005-68
TitleOverview of preventive measures for protecting children as vulnerable road users
AuthorsPascal Lammar
Published byPolicy Research Centre for Traffic Safety 2002-2006
Number of pages119
Document languageDutch
Work packageOther: Knowledge traffic unsafety

This report wants to give an overview of the preventive measures for child pedestrians and child bicyclists. The Flemish situation is the core of the report. The framework used to classify the preventive measures is that of the 3 E’s for prevention (Education, Engineering and Enforcement). All educational initiatives are categorized under ‘Education’, all initiatives concerning the traffic environment and technology under ‘Engineering’ and all initiatives concerning enforcement and legislation under ‘Enforcement’. Some policy measures and instruments, useful for preventing child injuries, are also briefly discussed. The collection of Flemish preventive measures is then analysed. The report ends with a conclusion, summarizing the main findings, followed by policy recommendations and recommendations for further research.

There is a dominance of the educational measures, when this framework is applied to preventive measures for children in Flanders. These educative measures are increasingly focusing on secondary school children, under the influence of the introduction of final attainment levels for infant, elementary and secondary school. Formerly, preventive initiatives were mainly limited to elementary school children. A shift from pure theoretical traffic education to practice-oriented traffic education may be noticed.
Instead of this one-sided approach of children safety one has to grow into an integrated and holistic approach with measures fitting within the three domains ‘Education’, ‘Engineering’ and ‘Enforcement’.
Although very few infrastructural and road engineering measures focus on children, in particular, the global approach for improvement of the safety of vulnerable road users, through separation of vulnerable road users from vehicles by time or space, through increasing the visibility of vulnerable road users, and through reductions in vehicle speed, is also positive to children.

Positive developments for children are, among others: traffic safety parks and educational routes, school transport plans, agreements to enhance road safety between schools and the local community, using safe bicycles, bicycle helmets and reflective materials, speed management measures (especially speed bumps, curb extensions at crossing facilities and traffic islands), removing visual obstacles and restricting parking space in residential streets, single-lane roundabouts, play streets, specific traffic courses for children violating the traffic rules, bicycle inspection and compulsory installation of blind area mirrors/cameras on lorries.

Preventive measures for children, which may be recommended, are: parent and driver education, extension of the network offering traffic education (including medical- and child-oriented institutions), exclusive traffic signal phasing, reduction of the complexity of roundabouts for children, increasing road safety on school routes and children routes, introducing bicycle streets, increasing the energy-absorbing performance of bicycle handlebars and the hood surface, compulsory closed side underrun protection on lorries and legalizing flashing bicycle lights.

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The Policy Research Centre for Traffic Safety carries out policy relevant scientific research under the authority of the Flemish Government. The Centre is the result of a

cooperation between Hasselt University, KU Leuven and VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research.


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