Every school holidays, grey nomads are constantly being warned to be on their guard for the annual influx of running, scootering and cycling children.
Despite speed limits of 10km/h and less, caravan park roads have been the scene of some terrible tragedies in recent years … and countless near misses. Earlier this year, a two-year old boy was killed after a collision with in a taxi in a Cairns caravan park, and four years ago a five-year-old boy was hit and killed by a car while riding his bike in the Inverloch Holiday Park.
Sadly, these are unlikely to be the last similar tragedies. With children sometimes running and skating around erratically, and stressed travellers often preoccupied looking for their sites, it is easy to see why accidents are so common.
Scott has been travelling around Australia for the past few years and say he is appalled at the number of people that speed in caravan parks. “I have seen so many close calls involving cars and children it’s no longer a joke,” he said. “If you are travelling or on holiday, how can you be late to anything that would justify the need to speed at any time or any place?”
There are design guidelines that are intended to minimise the chances of accidents at caravan parks. These might include avoiding layouts with long straight sections of road that allow motorists to travel at high speeds, installing road humps and warning signs to slow traffic speeds, and making sure visibility isn’t compromised by fences, hedges or parked vehicles.
Some parks such as the Sunshine Coast’s Coolum Beach Holiday Park have even instituted a no scooter, no skateboard policy in an effort to improve safety. In spite of such measures, there is no way to legislate for the unpredictable behaviour of some.
Obviously, drivers have to simply allow for the fact that excited children are liable to make poor decisions on or near roads, but there can be no such excuses for those behind the wheel of a caravan-towing car or motorhome.
Angry traveller Scott has seen enough to demand action to be taken against those who risk children’s lives by speeding. “Speed limits should be looked at like this,” he said. “You wouldn’t do 120 km/h in a 60 km/h zone or 200 km/h in a 100 km/h zone, so don’t do twice the limit in a caravan park.”