Two new Children’s Traffic Grounds were opened in Chisinau on 22nd May by the Moldovan Government and EASST partner the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM), under the auspices of Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs within the Strategy of Estonian Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid 2011-2015.

The grounds were created to teach children how to respect the roads both as pedestrians and cyclists. The joint project, involving the Estonian Police (Southern Prefecture), Southern Schooling Foundation, National Patrol Inspectorate and Automobile Club of Moldova, was opened by the Minister of Internal Affairs Dorin Recean. In his opening speech Mr. Recean said: “The new generation is lucky to be able to enjoy this opportunity to learn safe road behavior and responsibility for their actions. When using the roads, paying attention and showing respect to others are attitudes that save lives.”

Minister of Internal Affairs Dorin Recean opens one of the new grounds

Based on the Estonian experience, the Children’s Traffic Grounds are designed to reflect real life situations children face on the roads of Chisinau. The play area has various crossings and stops, which will be used to help children understand the rules of the road. These traffic grounds are the first of their kind to be built in the Republic of Moldova.

One ground is located near the Security School of Rescue Service containing intersections, traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, road signs and markings. Children from the Universul Lyceum school of Chisinau were the first to use the new Traffic Ground. Mr Tiit Allik of the Estonian Police spoke to them about the importance of wearing cycle helmets, demonstrating the protective effects of helmets by using raw eggs dropped on the pavement. He said: “Play is serious work, and children learn best through play. Funding for such projects is part of the Estonian Police efforts to reduce the number of young victims of road accidents, both at home, as well as throughout the region.”

A representative of the Estonian Police demonstrates the importance of cycle helmets

The second traffic ground has been built near to the “Grigore Vieru” primary school of Chisinau and is designed specifically to improve the bicycle riding skills of children.  A cycling contest was held and two winners were awarded with new bycicles and helmets.

These new facilities will host school trips from around Moldova and are the first of a network of similar facilities being developed in different cities in Moldova to improve children’s road safety awareness.