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A helpful reminder from traffic school

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During the Traverse City Film Festival’s Kids Fest, TCFF and TART Trails hosted a traffic safety course as part of the Health and Safety Day. Watching it for a brief period reminded me that we have a long way to go in creating public behavior on our roadways that is respectful, courteous, and focused on safety. Kudos to those involved for the attempt to teach such some basic rules and ethics of the road.

A lot more could be done on the eduction side to help counter a public realm designed to reward high speeds and the most dangerous mode over the most vulnerable. As well, since our enforcement tends to be mis-directed and slack in all the wrong places, perhaps early age education (through play) could be the beginning of a shift to a more inviting and safe street system.

I’m reminded of the following introduction to traffic school in the City of Utrecht, Netherlands that offers at an early age the knowledge and experience needed for multi-modal public sphere. Students in the Traffic Garden learn that if they can’t act responsibly, the privilege of operating a motorized-vehicle will be taken away. The lessons are set-up as a game, where students earn the privilege to use different modes, the top earner being the ambulance.

Is there anything like this going in the United States?

Traffic Garden via StreetFilms

What do you recall from driver’s training?


  1. Nancy Griesinger
    August 13, 2012 at 11:56 am

    My driver’s training class was held on the grounds of Southwestern High School in Detroit. There were cones and a stoplight and stop signs and a few curves to glide around and an instructor in the passenger seat. My Dad, however, didn’t trust the education system to do a proper job. He took me out into an open field in Taylor and let me get used to avoiding the ditch and a few rocks. Then…he felt comfortable enough to allow me to back the car out of our driveway and then…pull the car back in. This was the extent of my “training.” So, off I went to Tennessee on my own(by bus) to visit my aunt and uncle, where I begged my uncle to let me take his car and wheel around town with my friends. He did. I sped around my first corner and ended up in the yard of one of the cute twin boys we were hoping to wave to. I did not know that in order to turn a corner, one had to apply the brakes!

  2. August 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Since we are sharing…I learned on two-tracks out in Benzie county. Fun to still drive those dirt roads today (though, just as fun, or more, to mountain bike them). I recall being instructed to not dilly-dally crossing the paved roads in the event that “a drunk driver was speeding from over the hill or around the corner.” Apparently, drunk driving was a bit more common place in the 70’s.

  3. GregGraetz
    August 13, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Wow, that’s random; we have friends in Utrecht, Netherlands, but I haven’t heard much about the town otherwise. We’ll have to ask them about the traffic school game you referenced.

  4. Don
    August 15, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Explain this: this “traffic” safety thing was put on by TART.. the same group that had program directors and leadership that openly says to the city commission they “disobey traffic and basic roadway rules because its easier for them to ride they way they want to on the streets”?!!! And these are the people teaching the young ones about road and traffic-riding safety?!!! Good grief!!!!!

  5. August 15, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    My advise: Drive and ride smart, stay safe, be considerate of others, stay calm, and focus on your own actions–none of us are perfect.

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