Inclusive mobility and road safety for children with disabilities
Last month our EASST partners the Belarusian Auto Moto Touring Club (BKA) launched a new project ‘Road safety without measures’ supported by EASST. The project is a continuation of ‘Lessons of kindness’, which adapted the EASST Road Safety Education Pack and used it to deliver a joint educational programme on road safety for both disabled and non-disabled children in Minsk. The new project aims to extend these educational activities on road safety to the regions of the Republic of Belarus and further promote the importance of inclusive mobility and accessibility for all road users for better road safety.
In June, the BKA launched the project with a successful education session at a pre-school in the city of Slutsk followed by an awareness raising event involving children from different regions of Belarus at a resort complex outside of Minsk.
In 2017 the BKA published a research report on the links between disability, mobility and road risk in Minsk. The report shows that people with disabilities face tremendous difficulties when traveling around the city due to a lack of accessible infrastructure. This issue stems primarily from a lack of awareness of the kinds of challenges faced by people with disabilities in terms of transport and what the solutions are. As a result, the BKA aim to ensure that all of their projects follow the principle of inclusivity, with disabled and non-disabled children working together to learn and find solutions.
As part of the ‘Road safety without measures’ launch, the BKA prepared a comprehensive learn-and-entertain programme of activities based on the EASST Road Safety Education Pack. In a fun and age-appropriate environment which encouraged mutual assistance, the children were able to learn about what dangers road traffic can bring and why it is important to play away from the road. The little participants made posters on the importance of holding hands while crossing the road, learned why it’s important to always wear a seat belt or use a child restrain, and played ‘dress BKAshka’ (the BKA bee mascot) as a means of learning the importance of wearing bright clothes and using reflective accessories when walking in low light.
The BKA also included a session of safe cycling, following on from their ‘Safe Pedals’ project. In Belarus cycling is becoming increasingly popular. Unfortunately, however, this has also led to an increased number of road traffic collisions involving cyclists and there are no laws or standards in Belarus around wearing helmets or reflective clothing. The children learned the importance of wearing these things and how to react to dangerous road traffic conditions.
At the end of the event all the children received sweet prizes, reflective accessories and certificates of participation to pass to their parents.