Child Safety On Our Streets

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    SLOW DOWN signs, held by a yellow stick-like man have started littering our streets all over West Seattle. I can’t imagine there is a driver in West Seattle who wants to hit a child on their way to or from where ever they’re headed, and I agree that some drivers are driving faster that the established speed limit. As a matter of extreme safety, I encourage you parents who think you’re doing something useful, STOP with the SLOW DOWN signs. Instead, teach your kids to stay out of the street (you know, where 2 ton+ cars drive), stop expecting drivers to be personally responsible for your children, and (if you’re any kind of parent at all) take them to the park. There are no shortage of them in West Seattle. I know I will be attacked for writing this, and as important as you think your opinion is, just consider, it will not bring your mangled, lifeless child back from the grave. I am a courteous, cautious driver who makes every effort to obey traffic laws and yield right-of-way whenever appropriate. That said, I almost hit a child the other day (again) avoiding a distracting sign placed in the road (not on the side). Shame on the parent who let their loosely attended 4ish year old depend on a SLOW DOWN sign for safety while riding erratically in the street. Save a child’s life, take her to the park and keep her OUT of the road. In the meantime, I’m going to report to the police every time I see a SLOW DOWN sign in the street.


    A Concerned Neighbor


    2 Much Whine

    You are absolutely right. . . . .


    2 Much Whine

    . . . . .and when I say you are absolutely right I mean that you will be attacked for writing that, as you should be. Lighten up, Francis.



    I totally agree….with wsb1984. Children of any age should not play in the streets or parking lots of apartments and or Condos, streets were made for the use of vehicles and now bikes.
    Parks, playgrounds, and yards are for children to play in.



    Parents shouldn’t litter the streets with their crappy rogue signs. However, if you are going to operate an automobile, you ARE personally responsible for the safety of pedestrians, to the extent that it’s practically possible. Even when they’re not where they should be. If that’s too much of a burden for you, take the bus next time.



    Of course we are all responsible for pedestrians, I am not suggesting otherwise. Just asking parents to consider the risk they put their children at when they teach them to play in the street. I was upset and wrote this because I almost hit a kid who was not taught about the dangers of doing so. It’s lazy, irresponsible parenting. If your kid is the one who gets hit, how could you live with yourself? Even if you could find a reason to blame the driver, it would be difficult to avoid thinking, “You know, if I’d taken her to the park instead…” Anyhow, I’m not trying to argue or outwit anyone and I’m done ranting about this for good. Just actually concerned about the safety of the kids who are not being taught to know any better.



    You know.., it’s illegal to let your kids play in the street and the parents can be cited for reckless endangerment…
    Many years ago, Some kids thought it would be funny to un-roll a fishing net and drag it across the street.., I was driving slowly over, but it hooked underneath the car and the reel struck one of the kids..The kids parents called the police, Only to find out that they would be cited for reckless endangerment.



    Also, to those parents with kids, slow down when your on MY road just as YOU expect me to slow down on yours. Living near a school I see parents fly down my street with kids in the car and then fly back up without kids. It’s really annoying that you’d drive like that on someone else’s street when you know better. Maybe the better solution is to get people to stop using residential side streets as their own personal shortcut.



    PS, it’s called downshifting, look it up. Going down a hill doesn’t give you the right to speed just because you don’t want to ride your brake.



    “Maybe the better solution is to get people to stop using residential side streets as their own personal shortcut.”

    How’s that going to work? People are allowed to choose their own routes. City streets are for everyone, not just the people who live along them. If they are driving unsafely, then that is the issue, not the route they choose to take.



    “Instead, teach your kids to stay out of the street (you know, where 2 ton+ cars drive), stop expecting drivers to be personally responsible for your children”

    I cannot begin to tell you how strongly I disagree with this statement. The streets belong to everyone, not just cars. My child is seven years old and I’ve been teaching her how to ride her bicycle on the street since she was five years old. We ride bikes on the street to get to Walgreens. We ride bikes on the street to get to the library.

    Drivers of 2-ton vehicles have an extreme responsibility to control their cars so they do not hit a child (or adult) who is using the street to travel. If signs help change driver behavior then I’m all for them.

    Yes, these cars get in our way when we are trying to ride bikes to get to our destination. But that’s just how it goes — cars have a right to use the streets too. But car drivers – in control of a 2 ton vehicle capable of traveling 100+ MPH – have an absolute responsibility to drive very slowly and carefully anywhere there are children using the street.



    @Skeeter…if you read the OP it states the child 4+ yrs old was playing/running into street not riding a bike. And I agree roads are for vehicles and bikes not for children to ride their Big Wheels or any other toy.



    @KBear, I disagree with your opinion that the route drivers use isn’t important or an issue. With the proliferation of various driving apps (Waze etc) residential streets are getting congested in ways that were never intended by city planners and traffic engineers. We shouldn’t be using residential streets as thoroughfares for automobile traffic (Note: this is not relevant to bicycle traffic). We as a city are already reacting to this by introducing varying methods of traffic calming. Such as this in my old stomping grounds:

    The city could have diverted those resources to more important projects if only its citizens would use a little common decency and understanding of why we direct traffic through arterials etc.

    As to the OP, children should be supervised whenever they are in a roadway or close proximity and posting signage which can be helpful does not negate their responsibility. Signage should not be put physically in a roadway to cause an obstruction. We already have processes in place to request speed humps etc. We all have to share the road and that means we all take responsibility for our own safety and the safety of others. It only works when we all follow the rules. I also recommend getting a dashcam for your vehicle.



    Totally- maybe I misunderstood the OP but when he/she said “stop expecting drivers to be personally responsible for your children” I interpreted that to mean that parents, not drivers, are responsible if a driver crashes into a child. My position is car drivers are always responsible for a collision with a child regardless of whether the child is playing, walking, running, biking, in the street. The only time a driver would not be responsible for a collision is if the person jumped out right in front of a car and there was absolutely no way the car driver could avoid the collision.



    Am I the only one who thinks this topic deserves the worst post of the year award? You are seriously coming on a message board to complain about slow down signs? I agree they shouldn’t be in the middle of the road but I am not sure how a parent putting out a slow down sign while their kids are playing outside makes them a bad parent.

    Do you get angry when you hear children laughing? Does a child’s smile bring pure rage to you soul?

    I am just older than a millennial and all I hear about from the older generation is how great things used to be when kids played outside instead of playing video games. Now we have this post. How dare parents/kids ask cars to slow down while they ride a bike or play whiffle ball. Give me a break.

    Obviously there are exceptions to this like putting the sign in the middle of the street or on a busy street but several of my neighbors use these signs and like anyone with basic understanding I do not have a problem with it.

    Maybe try being a good neighbor instead of needlessly asking parents trying to make the neighborhood safer for their kids.


    2 Much Whine

    Perhaps we’ve run out of other things to complain about?

    We’ve already tackled:

    Dogs on a beach,
    Dogs not on a leash,
    Dogs chasing geese

    Pets scared of loud noises,
    Parks with too many toyses,
    No parking in the junction for any girls or boyses

    Cats chasing birds,
    Dogs leaving turds,
    People misspelling words

    Too many restaurants with pizza, burgers or Thai,
    Too many drivers zooming by,
    Campfire smoke that gets in your eye

    Police not acting,
    Police overreacting,
    Amazon package-jacking

    Yoga in the park,
    Humming noises in the dark,
    Fireworks that shoot sparks

    Now it is time for me to go,
    There’s just one more thing (don’t you know)
    Don’t get me started on merlot!



    Just to clarify, I have no problem with people driving down my street when they have respect. But 770 cars at an average of 32MPH. It’s clear to me that people are not using the street as it was planned. So don’t blame me when your favorite “shortcut” is riddled with roundabouts and speed bumps.



    2 Much whine
    can you set that to music? ;-) ;-)



    Not sure how but my previous reply seems to have disappeared. Trying again!

    1) The notion that some parents would use a sign in the street in lieu of teaching their children about safety is ludicrous. I know a lot of parents, and not one would stoop to that level of irresponsibility and laziness.
    2) The people who are putting up these signs are likely doing so in reaction to people driving dangerously fast down the streets they live on. Go look at 39th and 102nd SW and you’ll see a dozen of these signs at different houses. The reason? Because people soar down that road and blow through that intersection regularly at dangerous speeds.
    3) Getting the city to fix dangerous intersections takes a lot of time and effort and waiting for that to happen isn’t feasible. Families then take the situation on themselves by trying to put up signage since the city won’t.
    4) I don’t know any parents that encourage their children to go play in the streets. Though there may be some exceptions in cul-de-sacs and special places like that.
    5) Kids take a long time to develop a safe awareness of their surroundings and it takes repeated instruction and guidance from parents to teach them. You don’t just tell a kid once to stay out of the street and they mind. You can tell a small child to be careful around cars one minute and the next they’ll see a butterfly and chase it right into the street if nobody stops them.
    6) Just slow down in our neighborhoods. This is directed at everybody. It seems we are all in such a hurry these days that safety takes a back seat to getting to your destination. Slow down and not only will you give yourself more time to react, but if you do happen to hit someone, the damage will be hopefully less severe.
    7) I live on an arterial and just accept that people are going to drive it at higher speeds. I wouldn’t even consider a Slow Down sign because it wouldn’t do a bit of good. However, on the side streets around here I see others driving at dangerous speeds daily. I do wish people would mind their speed on these neighborhood roads, maybe then it wouldn’t be necessary for people to put up their own signage.



    +1000 to Sunuva. You said it all.



    I’ll make it simple, STOP letting your kids play in the street, take them to the park.
    Too many people still think that they can text and drive a 2k car.



    Ever instinctively chase a ball that flew out of the yard?

    You know, this is a sad commentary of the environment kids grow up in. Parents walking thier kids to the bus stop. Parents getting into fist fights at Little League games. People not wanting to pay for infrastructure that they claim they are entitled to (yes, that includes parks).

    There is a reason why residential streets are 20, that’s TWENTY miles per hour. If you don’t want to follow the rules, you deserve a first world problem like a plastic stick figure asking you to not ruin the life of a kid, parent, sibling, friend and yours after an accident.

    Please slow down in the neighborhood. Thanks.



    Hear hear Sunuva!
    I take side streets to get down to Westwood Village and back because it’s easier, there’s less traffic, and it’s a lovely drive (so many beautiful homes and awesome neighbors to wave hi to! Plus on the way back, I don’t end up causing a massive backup trying to make a left at a light off of Delridge). I cruise down the side streets going between 15-18mph and I don’t plan on changing that pattern any time soon.

    It always frustrates me when some idiot is going 30+ or wants to and ends up riding my bumper but I’m still going to keep crawling along at my lower than the limit speed. If someone is late, they should have left earlier. Emergencies aside, people need to chill out and slow down to enjoy the views.



    This is fascinating!

    I grew up playing ball in the street, riding my bike in the street and many other things. It was simply what we did and how it was. The parents knew their kids were “outside” and would fetch them for meals or would come out if they heard crying or were fetched by kid.

    Conversely, as noted above, we hold kids hands, closely supervise play at a park, wring their hands when their kids are out of sight. WE protect their feelings and insist that they’re “special”.

    My kids are special TO ME. I don’t expect them to be special to others. I expect them to be able to exercise regular caution when in the street. I also expect drivers to exercise regular caution; to watch out for children, etc. The caution is also the legal responsibility attached to the driver of the car/truck. Kids in the streets is always a possibility on a residential street…everywhere. It’s also not against the law. It’s not like we’re talking W. Marginal, it’s local side streets.


    Sunuva – thank you for being a voice of reason. With traffic getting worse, drivers are taking to the side streets as a means to avoid slowdowns, and many/most of them are in a hurry. This entire issue is not about kids – it’s about drivers being courteous of others and not thinking only of themselves. Slow down. Put your phone away. Drive like you care about the neighborhood and the people that live there.

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