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Mind that child: New road safety scheme at Oldham’s schools

Councillor Hibbert

Oldham Council has launched a major new Road Safety campaign to tackle disruptive car parking that is endangering pupils’ lives at local schools.

The new initiative, launched on 12th June, is designed to raise awareness of the serious problems that obstructive parking and congestion are causing on a daily basis in reducing visibility for children crossing the road.

Many local schools suffer from the problem of thoughtless drivers who opt to use restricted zones when dropping off and collecting children. In 2011, 53 children were injured on roads across our Borough. Oldham Council wants to cut these accident rates by stopping vehicles from parking on keep clear signs, zig zag markings, footpaths and other illegal places that create ‘danger spots’ for young people and other pedestrians.

This new campaign will see leaflets and posters distributed to parents and staff across all schools in the coming weeks, plus a range of other activities including the promotion of safe road crossing and healthier ways to get to school. It aims to raise awareness of where drivers should not park and Oldham is to now follow many other Local Authorities nationwide in also using CCTV camera enforcement to deter dangerous parking. The Council has agreed a rolling programme of term-time enforcement with local schools which will focus on school entrance markings at peak times.

Residents may soon spot a new ‘School Safety Vehicle’ patrolling school sites. For the first six weeks this will initially only be electronically ‘mapping’ traffic regulation data in each area. Enforcement activities, including the issuing of Penalty Charge Notices at £70, are likely to begin in mid-late August enabling the vehicle to be fully operational for the start of the new school year.

Casey Devine, a pupil at the Lees primary school, made headlines in March after she wrote to Oldham Council and local media asking for action after she was almost hit by a car which mounted the kerb.

Councillor Dave Hibbert, Cabinet Member for Housing, Transport and Planning, said: “Many local schools and residents are suffering with these parking problems and we’re not prepared to sit back and let young people’s lives continue to be risked on a daily basis. These zig-zag lines are outside our schools for a very good reason. They’re there to keep pupils safe by creating a sight line that enables them to see and be seen before crossing the road.

“The majority of drivers do take notice of these markings and behave responsibly, but there is also a persistent and thoughtless minority who ignore these restrictions for their own selfish convenience. These people continue to use restricted zones when dropping off and collecting children just to save themselves what amounts to seconds of their time.

“It’s a pretty simple message that motorists need to understand here. Parked vehicles in these areas can mask children trying to cross the road and we have to do something about it. If you’re not breaking the rules then you have nothing to worry about. But if you are, we will make no apologies for taking direct action to potentially save lives.”

1 comment to Mind that child: New road safety scheme at Oldham’s schools

  • Carol

    It would be also beneficial if the council would consider putting crossings outside schools and nurseries that do not have them. This might go some way to also preventing accidents. Also enforcing speed limits. In particular this would be helpful on the A65 where Saddleworth Nursery is.

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