While many children spend their days glued to video games, smart phones and computers, there are still a number of Thomasville youth who spend their time playing outside and engaging in neighborhood sports. Unfortunately, the Thomasville Police Department has received numerous complaints about children playing basketball in streets and roadways. Because such a practice can pose safety concerns, TPD would like to encourage parents and motorists to use caution.
“There is nothing like the good, old-fashioned fun that can be found by a group of kids playing a pick-up game of basketball in their neighborhood,” said Major Eric Hampton. “Unfortunately, we are noticing more and more cases of this impeding traffic or causing safety issues with motorists. We want to make sure that everyone understands that fun and games can quickly turn tragic should an accident occur, especially an accident that is avoidable.”
Major Hampton cautions parents from allowing children to play in streets and roadways, since it can be a distraction to both kids and motorists.
“If a basketball goal is placed in a roadway, the kids will naturally be in the roadway as they play ball,” said Major Hampton. “This practice impedes the flow of traffic, which is illegal. The bigger issue, however, is that it isn’t safe. Kids involved in a game can move unpredictably and dart in front of an oncoming car. They may not be as aware of their surroundings as they should be, and that is safety concern.”
In some cases, basketball goals are being left in the streets overnight, which can be a hazard for motorists even after the kids have gone in for the night.
“Most of these basketball goals are dark in color and do not have reflective paint to help make them more visible,” Major Hampton noted. “We have had cases where motorists have hit the basketball goals simply because they could not see them at night and did not know there was an object blocking the street that shouldn’t have been there.”
Major Hampton suggests that basketball goals be kept in driveways or yards and children conduct their games safely out of the street. “This is the best practice as it protects both our young people and our motorists,” he said.
He also notes that there are many locations where basketball goals are open to the public, and these locations are a better option than using streets and roadways. “Our public parks provide a much safer alternative than placing basketball goals in the street.”