Saturday 16 November 2013

Making roads safer at primary schools from the first quarter of 2014

Pilot starting next year aims to enhance pupils' safety on roads
By Bryna Singh, The Straits Times, 15 Nov 2013

A SERIES of road safety initiatives will be rolled out to 10 primary schools as a pilot from the first quarter of next year, before being extended to other schools progressively, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday.

One of the initiatives will see the speed limit on roads fronting the 10 schools lowered to 40kmh during school hours. Outside of these hours, the road speed limit will revert to the existing speed limit, which is generally 50kmh.

Motorists will be alerted to slow down by a 40kmh speed limit sign and a "When Lights Flash" supplementary sign. Flashing amber lights will be switched on during the period motorists must keep to the lower speed limit.

Other initiatives, according to the individual school's needs, will include road markings, road humps and dividers.

The schools in the pilot include Shuqun Primary, Canberra Primary, Ngee Ann Primary and Ang Mo Kio Primary.

They were selected because they are representative of some of the common traffic challenges faced by schools.

The measures were introduced by the LTA - which reviewed the School Zone scheme to enhance road safety for students.

The Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety Committee (PCSC), an inter-agency panel, recommended the measures. The panel, which includes the Traffic Police and Education Ministry, was set up earlier this year to pay special attention to the needs of the elderly and school children.

Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, who chairs the PCSC, said these new initiatives are "part of our continued efforts to improve road safety".

"The committee has reviewed the existing schemes and identified areas where further improvements can be made," he added.

The spotlight was turned especially on safety in school zones after two young brothers died when they were hit by a cement mixer truck in Tampines in January.

Following that accident, Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng managed in April to ban heavy vehicles from school zones in Tampines.

These latest initiatives come on top of current road-safety measures around all primary schools. These include "School Zone" signs and red-textured road surfaces to let motorists know that they are travelling within a school zone.

Dr Faishal visited Shuqun Primary School yesterday to view the initiatives to be implemented there. Speaking to reporters, he said he had asked a few pupils from the school what the road safety initiatives meant to them, and they responded that it was for "their lives and safety".

"I'm very happy that we are doing this for their safety and they can see it," he said.

"We care for our young students and we want to make sure they are able to go to school safely."

Shuqun Primary principal Geetha Doraisamy said the new initiatives complement the school's efforts to raise pupils' awareness of road safety.

However, she said she hopes pupils will not take these new measures for granted but would instead take ownership of their own safety. "The children cannot think, 'Now I can afford to be a little bit more careless,'" she said.

There will be a review of the pilot before measures are extended to other primary schools.

The LTA will also be putting "School Zone" signs around all secondary schools from the second quarter of next year.

New road safety initiatives

INITIATIVES to be rolled out to 10 primary schools:
- 40kmh "When Lights Flash" sign;
- "LOOK" warning markings, with arrows on the road pavements at zebra crossings;
- Centre refuge island at zebra crossings;
- Centre dividers;
- Chevron markings;
- Road humps.

* Look out for new "LOOK" at 240 zebra crossings
By Jermyn Chow, The Straits Times, 15 Oct 2014

ROAD signs reminding pedestrians to "LOOK" will be painted on 240 zebra crossings in school zones, as well as neighbourhoods with more old folk, to get people to be on the alert for oncoming vehicles before stepping onto the tarmac.

About 90 per cent of the pedestrians surveyed during a trial run two years ago said that the signs were good reminders.

The road markings at school zones will be completed by the fourth quarter of next year, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday. In the 10 elderly-friendly zones, the signs should be finished by March.

By then, "Give Way to Pedestrians" signs will also appear in six more spots.

These are to remind motorists to keep their eyes peeled for pedestrians.

The move followed a pilot earlier this year, when the signs were put up at three road junctions to remind motorists to look out for pedestrians when turning right.

They have worked, and more drivers and riders have given way to people crossing the road, said the LTA in a statement.

Said the Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Health, Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim: "We have received positive feedback from road users, who said that these 'LOOK'? road markings and 'Give Way to Pedestrians' signs are helpful in reminding people to practise good road-safety habits.

"Now that these features are expanded to more locations across Singapore, I hope that more pedestrians and motorists will look out for one another, so that our roads will be made even safer for everyone," added Prof Faishal, who chairs the Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety Committee.

New Initiatives to Enhance School Zone Safety -14 Nov 2013
Heavier traffic penalties in school zones from 1 January 2014
Pedestrians: LOOK Right, LOOK Left - Motorists: Give Way to Pedestrians -14 Oct 2014

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