Street and Parking Lot Safety
With the number of AYSO players, parents and volunteers at an all-time high, it is crucial that you and your volunteer corps establish an efficient and safe parking lot drop-off and pick-up system that is equipped to handle large numbers of people. Below are some of the critical areas that you will want to consider as well as share with everyone in your organization to keep everyone - and especially the kids! - safe.
Haste Is Your Worst Enemy
Nowadays, it's normal to see a harried parent or guardian rushing to drop their children at the local soccer field for practice and games. While punctuality is a virtue, rushing - and subsequent carelessness - certainly is not.
Adults aren't the only people who fall victim to haste. Kids love to run through parking lots and in between cars in their haste to start playing, forgetting to look both ways. That's why it's important to take a strong safety in the streets stance to prevent parking lot accidents
Player Loading Zone
Do not leave this to chance! Designate a place for parents to load and unload passengers. If there is no convenient curbside to do this, create a loading zone by placing a temporary sign during practices and games to indicate where cars should stop. Loading zones will help eliminate confusion for drivers and passengers. To help you find the best place to set-up your loading zone, contact your local police or sheriff's department - they will be happy to assist you.
Evaluate The Traffic Patterns
Be aware of how automobile traffic moves through and around the parking lot and the streets surrounding it and the field. What kind of pull-offs are there, if any? Is it a high traffic area where kids are in danger from moving traffic? Are there parked cars on both sides of the street where it may be difficult for motorists to see kids crossing?
Answering these kinds of questions will help you better evaluate the safety needs of everyone concerned
Slow down motorists by placing temporary signs in the parking lot warning them that their reduced speed is appreciated.
Signs that announce: Children at Play or Slow: Children will help lighten those lead feet. Take a proactive stand with your local city council, safety boards and park boards to put in speed bumps or road signs, etc. that may be necessary to slow traffic.
Fields located near a busy intersection may need additional traffic lights, better crossing signals or maybe added stop signs, etc. Practices are often held after school and that means rush hour! Again, talk and work closely with local agencies and local government departments to make certain all safety needs are being met to protect the kids.
A lack of proper lighting is a major safety concern. Make sure that there is adequate lighting so pedestrians and bicyclists can be spotted easily and from a distance by motorists. For added safety-insurance, put reflective tape on clothing and reflectors on bicycles to improve visibility.
Potholes & Cracked Roads
Cracked, crumbling concrete and asphalt are hazardous to everyone: pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. Don't wait for someone else to do something about roads and parking lots that need repair, bring it to the immediate attention of your local city council, traffic and/or parks department - Pave the Way to Improved Street Safety!