Today’s post includes some of my pet peeves involving 3 basic life skills that are no longer taught at school. Or by parents either.

This is something I’ve noticed for 30 years, that these 3 basic life skills haven’t been taught at school or by parents in decades. Safety is no longer important.

Basic life skill # 1: Walk facing traffic

A basic life skill that we learned at elementary school is to walk facing traffic. In this part of the world, that means we walk on the left side of the street.

Sadly, this life skill is no longer taught at school or by parents. And hasn’t been taught in decades judging by the huge number of adults I observe who walk with the traffic behind them.

When I was growing up, many of the streets around Cloverdale, our part of Surrey, BC, were gravel roads. There were a few paved roads with gravel shoulders to walk on. Failing that we walked on the edge of the road, and got out of the way if cars approached.

Even now, there are not always cement sidewalks up a curb off the road and away from traffic.

Back in the olden days a policeman visited our school and the students assembled in the gymnasium to hear his safety talk. Yup, a real honest to goodness mountie. And he’d get kids to volunteer and demonstrate how to use these life skills.

Walk facing traffic. That means walking on the left side of the road.

Do not walk in the same direction the traffic is moving. If a car is out of control and aiming at you, you can’t see it coming. If you’re facing the car and it’s too close, you have a chance to move out of the way or jump in the ditch.

Yes. I had good ditch jumping skills when I was younger!

Use common sense when walking safely. If one side of the road has a sidewalk and the other side does not, walk on the sidewalk even if you’re not facing traffic.

Basic life skill # 2: Ride a bike in the direction of traffic

After demonstrating how to walk safely in traffic, the police officer then grabbed a bike and a student to teach us how to cycle safely.

The first thing we learned about riding a bike is to ride it in the same direction as the cars are traveling. We had to ride on the right side of the road, as close to the edge as possible to allow cars to safely pass us.

Remember. Cloverdale. Mostly gravel roads when I was a kid.

The police officer also went over arm signals for turning left, right, and slowing/stopping.

The mountie would also demonstrate what to do if we’re riding a bicycle on a sidewalk.

We’re not!

The demonstration included getting off the bike and pushing it along the sidewalk.

Sidewalks are for pedestrians, not cyclists.

Bike couriers don’t seem to understand that!

Neither do a lot of adults and children.

Ride your bike on the road, not the sidewalk. That’s a basic life skill that hasn’t been taught in the school system or by parents in decades.

Basic life skill # 3: Don’t talk to strangers

When the mountie finished his spiel about walking and riding a bike safely, he reminded us not to talk to strangers.

Friendly strangers.

I also got this message from my teachers and my parents.

Not taught by parents or school teachers since the end of the last century!

Since the 1990’s, I can not begin to count the number of children who have approached me while I’m walking down the street and ask me if they can pat my dog. Or when I’m riding, if they can pat the horse.

I am the stranger and I am NOT approaching these children and initiating contact. It’s always the child approaching me because they haven’t been taught do not talk to strangers.

One time a very small boy who was being ignored by his mother, because she was busy on her cell phone about 25 feet away, chased after me and my dogs asking to pat them. Guessing the age of that young mother, I’d say she grew up in the 90s after basic life skills were no longer taught in school or by parents.

I could be that friendly stranger.

Yes, pat my dog. How about you take the leash and walk my dog? We’ll just walk around the corner where my accomplice is waiting in a white panel van to snatch you.

A near miss

Not too long ago I was coming out of the driveway where I board my horse, fortunately driving very slowly. There are hedges on both sides of the driveway. I have to pull out almost to the street to check for cars.

As I began to get close to the road, I suddenly saw movement to my right and stopped the car, which was barely moving anyway. There was a little girl, about 10 or 12 years old riding her bike, on the left side of the road, toward traffic.

And not wearing a helmet either. There’s been a bike helmet law in British Columbia for at least 30 years.

You know, about the same time these 3 basic life skills stopped being taught in the schools.

The fine for not wearing a helmet is $29.

Let’s sum it up

Walk on the left side of the road.

Ride a bike on the right side of the road.

Don’t talk to strangers.

These easy skills are no longer taught at the school or by parents. Sad, really. It shows how much danger children can be in.

And even us adults can be in danger too. Don’t miss my post 14 Safety Tips for Women Living Alone.

What about you? Did you receive lessons on safely walking, biking, and not talking to strangers at school or from your parents? Or neither? Let us know in the comments below.

Published by Cheryl @ The Lifestyle Digs on June 7, 2023.

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