Street Smarts

Street Smarts

A glance at the road toll indicates that Australian streets aren’t as safe as they should be – for drivers and passengers in vehicles, for cyclists and for pedestrians.

The most important things you can do are to act sensibly, walk or ride where you’re supposed to (and don’t where you’re not supposed to), wear a seatbelt whenever you’re in a car, and don’t drink and drive, or enter a car in which the driver has been drinking alcohol or has taken drugs.

How can I reduce the risk I’ll be injured in a car accident?
The most important thing for you to do is to wear a seat belt – ALWAYS, even if you’re only going down the street to the shops.

The second thing you can do is make sure that every person in any car in which you’re a passenger always wears their seat belt or child safety harness. Australia’s road toll has dropped significantly since seat belts became compulsory, but every year many people are killed and seriously injured because they weren’t wearing a seat belt when a crash or other accident occurred.

You can also help your parents by ensuring that objects are not lying around in the car. Harmless objects become dangerous missiles when a crash occurs – even a light item such as a tissue box can become a force 20 times its own weight in a collision. Store items securely.

Other ways you can help is to ask your driver if they are tired on long journeys. Remind your driver that it’s better to take a break than to become overtired and make a mistake or fall asleep.

Remember also not to distract the driver. If there are smaller children in the car, you may be able to help by keeping them amused or feeding them so they don’t distract the driver.

How can I ride my bike in the streets and stay safe?

Riding your bike is a fun way to get around and a good way to get to school. It’s also environmentally friendly. However, it can be dangerous – each year more than 200 young Australian cyclists are killed or badly injured. In many cases, though, the injuries were caused or made worse because riders weren’t following road rules or weren’t wearing helmets.

Riding your bike is a fun, healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around.
  • Always wear your helmet. Helmets are compulsory because they save lives and prevent serious head injuries
  • Make sure your bike – and your helmet – are the right size for you
  • Ride cautiously. Remember that motorists can’t always see you, so don’t expect them to stop for you
  • If there is a cycling lane, use it
  • Always ride on the left side of the road, as close to the kerb as possible
  • Be courteous to drivers – don’t do anything that could put yourself or other people in danger
  • Obey all the traffic signs and lights
  • Leave at least 1 metre between you and the moving traffic
  • Use hand signals to show you are turning
  • Never ride your bike across a pedestrian crossing
  • Don’t carry anyone on your bike
  • Keep control, by having at least one hand on the handlebars at all times
  • Be visible – wear light-coloured or reflective clothing when riding, especially at night
  • Equip your bike with flags and reflectors, front and rear, so drivers can see you better
  • Don’t ride at night or twilight without proper front and rear lights
  • Make yourself heard – check that your bike has a working horn or bell
  • Check your tyres and brakes regularly.
Always wear your helmet. Helmets are compulsory because they save lives and prevent serious head injuries.

I think I’m ready to catch the bus alone. What should I do to stay safe?

Use common sense and simple road rules to enter and exit a bus.

Remember: Stand on the footpath, away from the road, when waiting for the bus.

If you’re catching a regular bus, indicate when you want an approaching bus to stop for you – don’t assume the driver knows you want the bus to stop
  • Let the driver stop and open the doors before walking toward the bus
  • Sit quietly on the bus and avoid distracting the driver
  • Wait until the bus has left before crossing the road, unless at a pedestrian crossing
  • Walk away from the bus until you have a clear view of the traffic and the cars can see you.
I’m going to catch a train to school. What should I remember?
  • Electric trains are fast, but quiet. Always keep a safe distance between you and any train by staying behind the yellow line painted on the platform
  • Keep away from overhead power lines, which may carry 25,000 volts of electricity. Electricity can ‘jump’ up to 3 metres, so keep a reasonable distance
  • At least until you are experienced at travelling alone, try and sit near a door so you are ready to leave when it stops, or ride near where the train guard sits. Many accidents occur when stragglers hurry to get out of a train
  • Be careful at any rail crossing. Remember, a train travelling at 50 km/hour may take up to 500 metres to stop. Never cross train tracks other than at a designated pedestrian rail crossing point, even if you are worried about missing a train or a running late – there will always be another train along soon.

How can I use my skateboard safely?
Rules about using your skateboard in public places exist to keep everyone safe – not to frustrate you and your friends. If the rules are followed, you should be able to have fun – without hurting yourself or anyone else.
  • Stay off the road when skating, unless you’re in a deserted one-way street
  • Keep to the footpath or bike path
  • Head down to your local park and only use the road when you need to cross
  • Always use headgear and protective clothing – even the most experienced skateboarders have crashes
  • Never ask to be towed by a motor vehicle, as there is a high risk of injury.

Use rideshare
If you use rideshare platforms such as Uber or Ola, familiarise yourself with their Apps, which include ‘share trip’ capabilities and emergency safety features.

Other measures to keep you safe when using rideshare include:

  • Request your ride inside - Minimise the time that you’re standing outside by yourself with your phone in your hand. Instead, wait inside until the app shows that your driver has arrived.
  • Check your ride - Before you get into the car, check that it’s the right car with the right driver by matching the licence plate, car make and model, and driver photo with what’s provided in your app.
  • Get the driver to confirm your name before getting into the vehicle.
  • Whenever possible, sit in the back seat, especially if you’re riding alone. This helps ensure that you can safely exit on either side of the vehicle to avoid moving traffic.
  • Share your trip details with loved ones using the rideshare ‘share trip’ app. - This allows you to share your driver’s name, photo, licence plate, and location with a friend or family member. They will receive a text or push notification that tracks your trip and your estimated time of arrival.
  • Follow your intuition - Trust your instincts and use your best judgment when using rideshare.

    Other Article Categories:

  • Body Boosters
  • Public Property
  • The Big Chat
  • Home Base
  • Street Smarts
  • Just in Case
  • Out and About
  • Drug Awareness
  • Personal Space