The global launch of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 took place in May 2011. More than 70 countries pledged to take action to improve the level of road safety, prevent road deaths and injuries and promote safe driving. For many countries, the Decade will be decisive in ensuring a safer future on the roads.
The Belarusian Auto Moto Touring Club (BKA), EASST Belarus Partner is supporting the Decade by playing an active role in promoting road safety. Of deep concern in Belarus is the problem of child fatalities – the numbers of which have increased dramatically during recent years. This fact has influenced the direction of our initial steps: the decision to give special attention to road safety education for children.
On October 7th 2011 one of the Minsk kindergartens opened its doors to the BKA for its first road safety lessons. The aim was to teach small children how to behave safely on the road – not an easy task. Imagination is needed to make road safety understandable and interesting for very young children.
BKA began by showing funny cartoons in which the main characters repeatedly illustrate safe road behavior in different situations. The children also did riddles, answered our questions and shared their experiences. The BKA brought gifts of sweets and yellow balloons for all participants. But the most valuable gift for each child was without any doubt colorful ‘flickers,’ light-reflectors essential for visibility in the dark when children might be walking or riding bicycles to school.
BKA also organized a practical session for children in an open-air playground. By imitating the most common road situations, our aim was to show road rules in action. The children were divided into several groups – drivers, passengers or pedestrians. Together they learned how to cross the road at traffic lights and pedestrian crossings, how to exit a vehicle, and the importance of always being attentive when on or near a road. A uniformed traffic officer assisted us, helping the children do their best. It was a perfect opportunity for the children to see and practice necessary road safety skills while at the same time having lots of fun.
The Tag symbolizing the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 also played a role in our event. All the children left their handprints on a poster displaying the tag as the sign of their support for our safe future. At the end each participant received a special certificate which, we hope, will help our children remember to behave safely on the roads. We want them to realize that, even at a young age, they can each make a huge contribution to road safety.
The BKA hopes many more will join our efforts to reduce road casualties and become a part of our common action! Together we can save many lives!