21 March 2007

How Does a Kindergartener Cross the Road?

Earlier today I saw just about the cutest scene ever.

A class of kindergarten students were lined up along the busiest street in our town. About half of them were on one side of the road and the other half on the opposite. Each of them was wearing the triangular-shaped reflectors that children in Switzerland frequently wear around their shoulders as they walk to and from school.

A police officer stood next to the street. It became apparent that today was the day for kindergarteners to learn how to cross the street.

One child at a time approached the intersection and stood on the curb. All of the children began to chant "Stop! Stop! Stop!" as the cars approached the crosswalk.

As soon as the car was stopped, the police officer would motion to the child. The other children would cheer on their classmate as he or she carefully walked across the street with a great, big grin.

Then it was the next child's turn to cross and the entire screen repeated itself.

I've gotten better about carrying my camera, but I was just headed down for errands. How was I to know?

By the way, the Swiss are very good at stopping for pedestrians waiting at crosswalks. I have only once seen a car fail to stop. As I jumped out of its way, I turned to watch it go. And noticed it had a French license plate. Yep, the driver wasn't Swiss!

Although I suspect that even that driver would have stopped, given the two or three police officers standing by...


Expat Traveler said...

Be careful! If you don't stop at a cross walk it's a LARGE fine - I've heard it can be up to 1000CHF.

Also - the kindergardener have to wear those high vis vests. I guess it's a law so people see them better...

But yes they are cute!

swissmiss said...

Yeah, drivers are required to stop when a pedestrian appears to be about to cross the street at an uncontrolled cross-walk. If it even looks like the pedestrian is going to enter the crosswalk the driver is expected to stop and the fines are indeed steep.

I've also seen grade school class getting how to ride your bicycle lessons from police officers.

I love the triangles.

Sara said...

wow, they should start giving out those fines in Geneva, just yesterday I had to actually run the second part of a crosswalk as this car was coming towards me without slowing down at all!

Another time I was actually almost hit in a crosswalk, a woman was stopped and turning right onto a one way street, I crossed infront of her not aware she hadn't seen the crosswalk and she started going when I was literally infront of her car. I jumped back and banged on the hood of the car really hard as she was rolling towards me and luckily she stopped.

These were both Swiss drivers. I am so not impressed with how they treat pedestrians here!

swissmiss said...

Sara, how very unSwiss! I'd walk into the crosswalk blind here in Bern!