The current behavior of most of the citizens has much to do with education. Urban manners and road safety education are no exception to the rule. We have seen how people transform when they jump into their cars. They believe they own the road and forget that actually they are borrowing street space where other users have priority –emergency vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, public transport, and even freight in some cities-.
Disney pictured this on a cartoon, where it shows Mr. Walker vs. Mr. Wheeler behavior being both the same person:
In order to prevent this, strong road safety education is encouraged. This is the main reason for this post. In Brazil, 3 kids (along with their parents) played the role of police officers giving tickets to those cars parked on pedestrian areas. While it could be only a game, it actually provides the opportunity of the kids to take back those spaces where they used to play. Some years ago the streets where spaces to talk, to play, to run or to discuss news, but nowadays they are just a huge storage room to accommodate parked cars.
Here you may watch the kids in Brazil:
These kids are now learning that streets are not exclusively for cars. If kids grow up understanding that cities are for people and not for only those with cars, we would be able to see an improvement in urban life and road safety. Kids that in primary school are taught the rules for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles (as it is in Germany) are more prone to respect and protect pedestrians and cyclist.
Having responsible drivers and improving road safety is a combination of regulation, fines, no corruption, infrastructure and above all: education.
If every person in the city is able to remember that cities are meant for people, we would see more spaces for people’s enjoyment, more traffic calming areas, more car-free streets, more cities for people.