Haarlemmers take to the streets to guide children who ride their bikes safely to school

Concerned parents and locals took to the streets this morning in Stuttgersburg to regulate traffic at the dangerous intersection. In this way they want to draw attention to the dangerous traffic situations that arise there for the children who go to school by bike every morning. Clad in orange jackets and homemade ready-made boards, they guide hundreds of neighborhood kids through the intersection.

Karst (right) with a homemade banner – Sanne Harmes / NH Nieuws

The initiative comes from Joosje Campfens, who started the campaign out of frustration. For years, locals have tried to make the traffic situation in and around the intersection safer, with no visible results. “Participation evenings and signature campaigns are held here about the dangerous traffic situation, but nothing is happening from the municipality. People don’t feel heard here.” So it’s time to act, Joosje says.

The hustle and bustle starts at 8 in the morning: children on bikes cross between moving cars to get to school on time. This morning the students received help from local residents as they crossed the street. “I’m shutting down traffic here, while other volunteers are guiding cyclists,” says neighborhood resident Mickey.

“I wish they would stop”

Like the others in the movement, she was wearing an orange jacket and holding a makeshift board ready to go. “It’s a very dangerous traffic condition here,” she explains. “Cyclists cross the bridge and then have to cross the road to the left.”

As the cars approach the intersection, Mickey steps onto the road and raises the red part of her sign. “Then I hope they really stop, so you don’t get run over,” she laughs. “At first I only put the sign from the side, but that makes no sense at all. You have to stand on the street.”

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Mieke (right) traffic stop – Sanne Harmes / NH Nieuws

Two children being transported on a cargo bike shout “thank you” to the ready as they park cars. “I try to slow them down,” says Tessa, another ready-to-work volunteer. In her hand is a fly swatter, with a red piece of paper on one side and a green one on the other. It could be a bit more professional, she laughs, “but it works.”

Three thousand children

A little further from Carst, with a homemade sign. “More than three thousand children ride bicycles here every day,” he says steadily. “The municipality has to ensure a good flow of traffic, so that it is safe for them here.”

“There is a lot of driving here and it is very difficult for children to cross here safely,” he continues. “It’s a racetrack, kids aren’t given priority and that leads to very dangerous situations. Decreasing the speed is the least bit, but something has to be done.”

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Traffic in Schouwtjesbrug – Sanne Harmes / NH Nieuws

Karst fears that dangerous situations will only get worse in the future. “We’re seeing an increase in traffic and 2,100 homes will soon be built here, so traffic is only going to increase here. There is simply little attention given to the consequences of this high mobility.”

Successful work

At about 8:30 in the morning, the crowds gradually decrease. It escorts almost all children to school safely. Some still kick hard to get to class on time. Organizer Joosje is proud of all the volunteers. “A very successful campaign, the turnout was more than I would have liked,” she says enthusiastically.

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If nothing happens from the municipality, says Joosje, you have to take to the streets yourself. “Between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., thousands of children commute here every day by bike,” she says. “We will be campaigning in this whole two square kilometer area with all those schools and students.” “Every month somewhere else, or maybe more often. That’s not possible anymore, we just want to tackle it. Next month we’ll do the same at Wagenweg.”

Joosje has an idea of ​​what the municipality should do to make the situation safer. “In the short term, traffic monitors should be installed, at least between 8:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. After that, the road should become free of cars, or a bike street,” she explains. “But my plea to the municipality is actually: Come and see for yourself between those times. Don’t send people to count cyclists, but come yourself. And while you’re here on the street, come up with a solution.”

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