VCS and Pedestrian Mobility Switzerland

on the way to school

The journey to school is a time to gain experience, learn and socialise. It makes children more independent, promotes exercise and makes an important contribution to their general development. At the same time, children are learner road users. Mistakes happen when learning. In order to prevent accidents to children on the way to school, everyone has a part to play: all road users, the police, parents and children.

Less is more

Children are learners in traffic. For them, even a small hand signal can have serious consequences. Refrain from hand signals and stop for school children.

What children still need to learn in road traffic

Acting with foresight

Children have a limited field of perception. They can take in less information at once. In particular, they miss out on movement in the periphery.

Seeing the big picture

Children are small – they have a completely different perspective. Everything seems bigger, longer and wider to them than to adults. Accordingly, they perceive dangers differently or not at all.

Locating and classifying sounds correctly

Their orientation and hearing are not yet fully developed. Children therefore find it difficult to distinguish between left and right or to determine where a sound is coming from.

Not being distracted

Children have a constant urge for exercise, play and discovery, are easily distracted, impulsive and dreamy. For example, they forget the dangers of the road when they discover their playmates or other exciting things.

Dangers on the way to school

Every year, around 180 children in Switzerland have a serious accident, and unfortunately some of them die as a result. Around half of them were on foot and a third were riding a bicycle. Children also often have an accident in their free time, for example on the way to a sports club, playground or swimming pool.

Particularly at risk when starting school

The greatest risk of accidents for children is when they travel to school on their own for the first time. Children between the ages of 5 and 10 mainly have accidents when they are travelling on foot. As they get older, they are also at risk when riding their bicycle.

Accidents usually happen when crossing the road

73% of serious accidents involving children travelling on foot occur while crossing the road, 46% of them on the pedestrian crossing. If drivers cause the collision, they failed to give way to the child travelling on foot in 55% of all cases – often because they are inattentive or distracted during rush hour traffic.

“Stop for schoolchildren” applies here

In case of doubt

Be particularly careful if children are to be expected on the road, especially if there are signs that they are not paying attention to the traffic (Art.26 (2) of the Road Traffic Act, RTA). In such cases, stopping is always the safe choice.

In congested traffic

Even if there is no pedestrian crossing, stop if you are driving in dense traffic on the road and children want to cross it (Art. 6 (3) TRegO).

At the pavement crossing

Stop completely before crossing the pavement, in order to give children the right of way (Art. 41 (2) TRegO).

In the pedestrian priority zone

Stop fully despite low speed if children want to cross the driving area of a pedestrian priority zone (Art. 22b(1) of the Road Signs Ordinance, RSO).

On a pedestrian crossing

Stop completely in front of the pedestrian crossing if a child wants to cross the road (Art. 6 (1) of the Traffic Regulations Ordinance, TRegO). In road safety lessons, children only learn to cross the road when the vehicle comes to a complete halt.

How to prepare your child

Encourage self-confidence in the living environment

When pre-school children are allowed to act independently in a safe home environment, they develop the skills and self-confidence needed to travel safely. There, they can also be introduced to different traffic situations in the presence of their parents. Be a role model with your own behaviour.

Choosing a safe route to school

Many routes lead to kindergarten or school. The shortest is often not the safest. Choose low-traffic roads with low speed and good visibility. The greater the traffic volume, the more important safe crossings, e.g. pedestrian crossings with central islands, are.

Practising behaviour and routes

Practise the route to kindergarten or school with your child early on – the sooner the better. Repeat this route several times, because practice makes perfect. Discuss challenging situations so that the child can recognise them. Practise the difficult sections together. Let your child lead the way and show what they have learned.

Crossing the road in 30km/h zones

On roads without a pedestrian crossing, it is important that your child knows the appropriate crossing point. These are places with a good overview of the traffic. The waiting child must be seen by drivers at an early stage and not be hidden by objects such as bushes or parked vehicles.

Rules for

Children are learners in traffic. These simple rules will help you get around safely on foot.

More information
on the topic

You can find more projects and facts on how to get to school safely on the websites of the supporting associations of the “Stop for Schoolchildren” campaign.

Keep school children safe with these products.



VCS und Fussverkehr Schweiz

VCS und Fussverkehr Schweiz