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Mini police officers penalise parents

6 Dec

A nice post by Living Streets.

“In partnership with Bradford’s road safety team and the West Yorkshire Police, primary school pupils donned police uniforms and handed out parking tickets to parents, in a successfully ‘lighthearted’ bid to highlight road safety. The event intended to warn parents and their children of the dangers of the ‘school drop’ and prevent daily offences such as pavement parking, using mobile phones whilst driving and stopping/dropping off in non-designated zones”.

I love the way this reworks the power balance between the children, who tend to suffer more than others from such behaviour and the minority of adults who are trying to get away with it. Do also check out my post about Junior Speed Watch which gets kids to bring speeding adults to task. What is powerful about this is how the authorities are working directly with the young people.

See the original ‘mini police officers’ article here:
‘Just the ticket for parents’

88% of the people in 18% of the space

8 Nov

I did a simple traffic count outside a local primary school today using a pair two clickers. A total of 581 pedestrians passed me, and 80 cars which means that 88% of the traffic was on foot. I then measured the width of the road which was 9 meters wide of which 700mm was available for pedestrians on one side and 900mm on the other when the cars parked partially on the pavement were accounted for. A total of 1.6 meters or 18% of the road width was available to pedestrians.

88% of people are on the pavements with 18% of the space

In reality it was worse. There was a car parked across the raised crossing for some time, another car drove along the pavement for 20 meters or so to pass a vehicle on the road and then a car hooted as it reversed out across the pavement into the road making everyone wait.

We have being playing with the idea of Ofped inspections for schools, which would be an assessment that could easily be made for schools across the country. One measure would be how many people walk or cycle. Another would be how equitably the space was allocated between car drivers and pedestrians. Points would then be deducted for dangerous of illegal activity by motorists.

Foxhall Road – a lethal road that needs a crossing patrol

1 Nov

Suffolk County Council recently decided that it will not replace the lollipop lady who helps parents and children who attend Britannia Road Primary School across Foxhall Road at the junction with Britannia Road. She retires next March and the currently plans are that she will not be replaced. Have then forgotten how dangerous this road is or did they never know?

Crossing patrol sign on Foxhall Road

The location of the crossing patrol with its nice new dropped kerb.

The view across Foxhall Road

However… have they forgotten that four people have been killed on Foxhall Road within the past 10 years within 100 meters of that spot and another car passenger not far away. This must make it one of the most lethal roads in the town.

For the record in 2001 a 14 year old boy was killed walking on Foxhall Road outside St Clement Hospital on 26 January 2001. Then a 22 year old man was killed walking along Foxhall Road by Dover Road on 22 March of the same year. Next it was the 18 year old passenger who died in a car crash further along the same road on 14 November 2007. Most recently  in February last year it was the turn of two women were also killed while walking along Foxhall Road.  You can check the figures using the BBC interactive casualty map.

Before you get too alarmed… Road casualty rates have been falling for 45 years. They peaked in 1966 at a staggering 7,985 in one year. The figure for 2009 is 2,222 which is the lowest since records began in 1926. During Labour’s recent term in office between 2000 and 2009 they dropped an impressive 44% (from 3,409 to 2,222) and the number of children killed fell even further (by 61%). Don’t believe me? Well check out this Wikipedia article which I helped create and follow the references back to the Department for Transport website. To give them their due, the previous conservative government also saw big falls, from 5,953 to 3,599.

My concern that the current government has pledged to ‘end the war on the motorist’ and has cut the road safety grant by 40%. They have also cut local council budgets. See this article in the Telegraph for a reasonably cynical view! Lets fight to keep this patrol also for continued progress on road safety. Why not write to your councilor or to your MP. You can do this easily from this wonderful website.  Does anyone affected wish to start a petition? If so then let me know.

Finally, here a a chart I created shows the trend in GB road fatalities since 1929 together with many of the associated road safety interventions during the period.

Fatalities on GB roads 1926-2009


My initial post incorrectly suggested that Ipswich Borough Council was responsible for this decision. They were not, this is a decision by Suffolk County Council who are the transport authority. Apologies to Ipswich Borough Council. More recently fears have been expressed that all 72 crossing patrols in the county could be axed.

Stop for the lollipop

1 Nov

Stop for the lollipop (c) copyright

Sounds simple doesn’t it! However a few selfish drivers honk, rev their engines or just push past and on at least one occasions risk the official’s life. “MOTORISTS are being reminded they must stop at school crossing patrols after a lollipop lady in North Yorkshire was nearly knocked down by a car.” see this newspaper article.

There are campaigns in many parts of the country now.

Kids provide backup! photo copyright Leicestershire CC

Ravenswood – progress!

19 Jul

Shortly after my last post I received a call from a local Councilor who said that he shared our concerns with the parking problems at Ravenswood primary school. We had promising meeting and hopefully will be working together to get something sorted. I provided him with a copy of a presentation about our work and methods which he seems to like.

If you have any ideas or would like to offer any help then please leave a comment, hit us on twitter or email us at Here is the presentation:

Ravenswood update – more permissions needed..

16 Jul

You may remember about our plans for a garden outside Ravenswood primary school in Ipswich to stop damage to the verges there. We are now working with the officials to see if we can do something and initially the local police officers from the safer neighborhood team were very supportive, however when we were ready to start there was then a problem and it seemed that additional permission from certain officials. We want to try to work with the authorities on this one so we will need to wait for an answer and get on with other work for the time being.

Here is what the area looks like at school pickup time which was co-incidentally the moment that the Google Streetview car drove past. There are cars all along the verge and in the bus stop:

Junior Speed Watch

22 Jun

Children from Perry Beeches Junior School in Birmingham have joined forces with  the members from the West Midlands Police to monitor the speed of traffic outside their school and to catch speeding motorists.

They found that the 30mph was being broken by some motorists even though the approach is clearly marked as a ‘school zone’. Using speed cameras they caught six vehicles speeding the fastest of which was clocked at 40 mph. Check out a video of the event published by the police on their facebook page.

The statistics are compelling – a pedestrian hit by a car at 40 mph has a 90% fatality rate which drops 2.5% at 20 mph.

The same approach was previously used outside Southmead School in Bristol where school children working with the local police using speed cameras caught 25 speeding motorists who were then given a choice to take a survey presented by the pupils or receive a fine and three points on their licence!

This is a great example of how to empower pedestrians to challenge the ‘rights’ some motorists think they have to drive where they like, at a speed of their choosing and then park all over the place! Let’s have more of these junior speed watch events around the country.

On the Verge of destruction

10 Jun

Pavements are not the only area affected by bad parking, grass verges also fall victim and suffer irreversible damage. Drivers may think that they are doing the right thing in not blocking the road but there are few grassy areas left in towns due to roads and paths so they should be looked after.

We sent the Pedestrian Liberation Parking Warden out to investigate an affected area by Ravens-wood primary school. He was not impressed! The entire area had been turned to dust/mud depending on the weather.

He was also very unhappy at dropped kerbs which had been installed to help parents with buggies being used by vehicles to get onto the grass – not the idea.

Most verges are owned by the council who are expected to repair the damage with all of us local ratepayers covering the cost. Strangely it is not currently illegal to park a vehicle on the verge (unless there are parking restrictions on the associated road).