How unconcerned drivers are putting south Lincolnshire’s schoolkids at risk daily

Jenny Pace, with her children Timothy and Benjamin, is campaigning for road safety measures after a near-miss from tragedy while walking to Bourne Westfield Primary Academy.  Photo by David Lowndes.
Jenny Pace, with her children Timothy and Benjamin, is campaigning for road safety measures after a near-miss from tragedy while walking to Bourne Westfield Primary Academy. Photo by David Lowndes.
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“It was just so close and could have easily been very different for my boys.”

Mum-of-two Jenny Pace (34) of Saxon Way, Bourne, was a matter of inches away from a car which mounted a pavement near their home as they were walking to school about six weeks ago.

STAY SAFE: Primary schools from Deeping St James and Market Deeping attend a safety workshop held at The Deepings School and hosted by headteacher Richard Trow (centre front).  Photo by Tim Wilson.

STAY SAFE: Primary schools from Deeping St James and Market Deeping attend a safety workshop held at The Deepings School and hosted by headteacher Richard Trow (centre front). Photo by Tim Wilson.

But rather than put the matter down as a lucky escape, Jenny launched an online petition calling for “SCHOOL KEEP CLEAR” zig-zag lines to be painted on the road outside Bourne Westfield Primary Academy in Westbourne Park.

Jenny said: “There’s a blind bend and a very tight corner when I walk from my home to the school and even when you’re walking on the pavement, you can’t see what’s around the corner.

“As I walked with my two boys, there were cars parked as parents were dropping their children off at school, with one car parked in the middle of the road and another two across it.

“Then one of the drivers, who was more concerned about not scratching the car parked in the middle of the road, decided to go up onto the pavement.

Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways and transportation at Lincolnshire County Council.  Photo by Alex Buchanan.

Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways and transportation at Lincolnshire County Council. Photo by Alex Buchanan.

“As it was coming towards us, I shouted at the driver and told them to wait until I’d taken a couple of moments to work out what was the safest thing to do.

“I then moved my children onto the grass next to the pavement as there was no other option.

“It really shocked me when I thought ‘what if my boys had been running ahead of me?’ and realised that the driver wouldn’t have seen them.

“Timothy (four) and Benjamin (five) would have been knocked over and the biggest issue now is having cars being driven on pavements when toddlers and children, with no road sense, are walking to school.

“Even with parents who have the best will in the world and want to keep their children safe, we need to act now before a child gets seriously hurt.”

Despite numerous schemes designed to keep children safe when going to and from school, including walking groups, car sharing schemes and parents’ charters, irresponsible parking outside primary and secondary schools remains a national problem.

Alistair Main, parent governor at Monkshouse Primary School in Spalding, said: “Some of the parking outside of school is appalling and very dangerous. Regular examples include blocking the crossing point where there are lowered curbs within the yellow zig-zag area and parking off the road on the grassed area near the park.

“This not only blocks the path, forcing children onto the road, but also means that drivers then have to drive across the path when they are ready to leave.

“There is also the usual problem of stopping within the yellow lines which, as always, is done by a minority of the parents who drive to the school.

“We are fortunate that there is sufficient parking on the road away from the school gates, as well as parking for Monkshouse Playing Field a short walk away.

“But before long, there is going to be a serious accident there and it should not be down to the school to police this.”

The problem in Lincolnshire is complicated by the fact that responsibility for enforcing on-street parking restrictions was handed over by the police to Lincolnshire County Council in December 2012.

Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways and transport, said: “Some of the parking I have seen outside schools has been quite dangerous and in one case, a parent nearly hit a police officer before almost blaming them for standing on the pavement.

“Pedestrians and children are being put at risk by parents in a rush, some almost literally trying to drive their cars into the classroom, and we have to do something about it.”

“Outside some schools, parents park across driveways or in them which isn’t fair and can cause a massive inconvenience.”

Meanwhile, Jenny Pace’s petition for safety measures around Bourne Westfield Primary Academy, including a plan to make both Kingsley Avenue and Leofric Avenue one-way streets, has received about 200 signatures so far.

Jenny said: “It would stop the need for cars to go on the pavement and hopefully make things safer.”

To sign the petition, go to www.change.org/p/safety-1st-put-school-keep-clear-zigzag-lines-outside-bourne-westfield-pedestrian-gate-and-a-one-way-system

Are mobile CCTVs an answer to concerns?

Market Deeping Community Primary School prepares its pupils for problems in the world around them by taking part in an annual Stay Safe Day at The Deepings School.

A primary school spokesman said: “Like many schools, we are situated in a residential area so we remind parents and carers every term to be considerate to our neighbours and other children arriving at school on foot.

“However, there are often parents or carers who disregard our requests and drive or park with no consideration for local residents or other road users.” As a result, Lincolnshire County Council is considering the introduction of vans fitted with CCTV cameras to be parked outside schools for the purpose of tackling careless and inconsiderate parking.

Matt Jones, the council’s parking services manager, said: “We are currently developing a project where mobile CCTV cameras will be used for enforcement purposes against parking on zig-zag lines outside schools.

“A pilot scheme will need to be approved by the council but it is hoped that it will be up and running within six months, although we will need to recommend suitable schools for the pilot.”