I was deeply saddened when I learnt that two brothers were killed after a cement mixer truck hit them as they were crossing a road junction. The older brother, 13 years old, was reported to be fetching the younger brother, 7 years old, home from his school’s co-curricular activity (CCA) on his bicycle. A part of me broke when I saw a picture of their mother, clad in MacDonald’s crew uniform, bawling her heart out at the scene of accident. I must have been deeply affected by the tragic accident as I lost a good few minutes of my sleep that very night. Having two boys myself, my heart went out to the boys’ mother and I could feel her extreme distraught and pain over the great irreversible loss.
Following the horrific accident, netizens have urged authorities to improve road safety. While I agree that authorities can do more to implement measures to beef up road security and make our roads safe for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians alike, I feel that road safety is the collective responsibility of motorists, pedestrians, parents and schools.
Parents do play an important role in educating their children about road safety and inculcating good road safety behavior and courtesy. Besides constantly reminding their children to use the roads with care and consideration, parents can be good role models and exert positive influence on their children by displaying good road safety behavior and habits such as obeying traffic rules whether as pedestrians, cyclists or motorists, and not using the hand phone while driving or walking.
It is important that our children acquire road safety skills from a young age. That is why if we were at the East Coast Park on weekends, we will make it a point to drop by to the Road Safety Community Park which is open to the public. The Road Safety Community Park comprises traffic lights, zebra crossings, lamp posts, road signs, bus stops, a mini overhead bridge, a SHELL service station, a SBS transit station, a neighbourhood police centre, a VICOM inspection centre and a playground. All these installations and structures have been built to a smaller scale to suit the children.
Hubby and the older boy will role-play as cyclists as they ride their rented bicycles in the simulated traffic circuit, while my domestic helper and I will role-play as pedestrians as we walk around the park, pushing the little one on his trike. As we traverse through the Road Safety Community Park, we familiarise the boys with road safety skills.
Each year, about 30,000 children have benefited from road safety education programmed conducted at the Road Safety Community Park and my older boy is one of them. In fact, he is the second-generation member in our families who has participated in the programme. Hubby and I have fond memories of our fun and interactive road safety learning experiences at the Road Safety Community Park when we were primary school students.
To further outreach efforts, the Road Safety Community Park could consider publicising its opening hours on the internet, getting a fresh coat of paint for some of its installations and structures, having vendors set up bicycles and go-karts kiosks nearby for public to rent for use at the traffic circuit, setting up a manned public information centre displaying educational videos, exhibits and pamphlets (in different languages), build a rest and relax corner with plenty of seats and a water cooler to cater to the young children and elderly. I believe with constant upgrading and small incremental steps of improvements to the Road Safety Community Park, more people will enjoy and benefit from the road safety education programme.
As the slogan of the Road Safety Community Park says ‘Together we can learn road safety the fun way’!
Road Safety Community Park
910 East Coast Park Service Road