Getting to school safely on a set of wheels is something that Constable Aaron Dann is keen to help young people do.
“A lot of parents don’t realise how fast these scooters can go. If they go downhill they can pick up a lot of speed.”
As a School Community Officer (SCO) in Wellington, he helps students to cycle safely. What children learn ranges from road rules through to basic maintenance.
“Anything major, we tell them they need to go to a bike shop,” says Aaron.
“When we were growing up, that was your only sort of transport – you rode your bike or walked.
“Now more children are driven to school and a lot of their parents just don’t know the mechanical side of looking after a bike.”
Increasingly, he gives advice about scooters too. He says parents need to realise that scooters also come with safety precautions.
“The new scooters are so fast – they’re not like the ones we had growing up.”
Some scooters have brakes that overheat and snap off. And while scooters are allowed on footpaths, children need to look for cars in driveways and be able to maintain control.
“A lot of the children I speak to wear helmets and act responsibly when they are scooting on the footpath, including their responsibility to themselves, others and their community.”
SCOs like Aaron increasingly use a whole school approach, where student learning is just one part of road safety. Supporting the school to create a safe ethos and environment, and connecting with the school community to take action, are just as important to really make it safer for students to ride.