"Science Says" 14 Year Olds Shouldn't Cross the Street Alone

CC BY 2.0. Max Pixel/ is that kid with the guitar 14?

It is a fascinating headline in Parents Magazine; I didn’t know that science talked to people that way. It is in fact, a study doing the talking, research from the University of Iowa that determined that children “lack the perceptual judgment and motor skills to cross a busy road consistently without putting themselves in danger.”


Parents magazine/Screen capture

Children up to their early teenage years had difficulty consistently crossing the street safely, with accident rates as high as 8 percent with 6-year-olds. Only by age 14 did children navigate street crossing without incident, while 12-year-olds mostly compensated for inferior road-crossing motor skills by choosing bigger gaps in traffic.

Most people would come to the conclusion, as the study authors actually do, that planners should identify where kids need to cross the street and put in crosswalks and traffic controls. But Parents blogger Hollee Actman Becker writes:

...science has just issued a pretty big strike against letting kids younger than 14 cross solo. According to a new study out of the University of Iowa, younger kiddos lack the perceptual judgment and physical skills needed to consistently get across safely."Some people think younger children may be able to perform like adults when crossing the street," said study author Jodie Plumert. "Our study shows that's not necessarily the case on busy roads where traffic doesn't stop."

How about taking the position that if it is not safe for children to cross the street, then their is something wrong with the street.

Just this weekend a kid was killed in Toronto while crossing a street, in part because we don’t take road design that protects pedestrians seriously.

We have pretty much let cars take over the world to the point where pedestrians are making driving dangerous, a total inversion of reality.

Seriously, what’s wrong with this picture?