The Artisan Gardens neighbourhood is the subject of controversy following a decision by its strata council to ban children from playing on the road. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Editorial: Have a heart, let the kids play in the street

There’s a misconception that’s been growing in our society over the decades: roads are only for cars

Many of us remember well heading outside on a sunny day, setting up a makeshift hockey net, and playing with siblings or other neighbourhood kids until we were called in for supper.

Or maybe if sports wasn’t your thing, you got out some sidewalk chalk and drew ladybugs and hopscotch squares.

Perhaps you dragged your bike out and cruised up and down, getting the feel of it under you for later when your parents would let you head out to the corner store by yourself.

The children in one Chemainus neighbourhood will be denied those kinds of memories as a strata has forbidden such activities on its streets. It’s an incredibly sad turn of events.

There’s this misconception that’s been growing in our society over the decades: roads are only for cars. Bikes and pedestrians are obstacles, a mere nuisance. Horses are passé and no longer belong on the roadway, in the minds of many, and even farm vehicles that can’t go as quickly as the average automobile are unwelcome.

It’s a misperception that needs to change. Roads are to get us from here to there. Before cars were even a glimmer in an inventor’s eye there were roads. Guess who used them? Pedestrians, horses, cyclists, even. Why should all of these have to cede their roads entirely?

There’s the idea that banning all other activities from the roads is a safety issue. It’s only a safety issue if the people in their cars don’t take enough time and care. You can’t see kids crouched on the road using chalk as you back out of your driveway? Maybe take a moment to look behind your vehicle before you get in (it’ll save you the tragedy of backing over someone’s cat or dog, too).

We urge the folks who voted in favour of this ban to maybe think back to when they were young, or watch the delight of the kids playing outdoors. Have a heart.

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