Designated ‘hotspot’ primary schools across Cheshire East are to benefit from a partnership initiative called ‘Safer Parking at the School Gates’ when schools return for their new academic year.
Since 2010, official figures reveal that roadside accidents near to schools have increased by almost six per cent across England.
In Cheshire East, 32 road accidents occurred near schools in 2016/17. During the following year that figure fell to 27, although four were serious and one fatal.
To address this, civil enforcement officers from Cheshire East Council, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and Cheshire Police have joined forces to tackle illegal, irresponsible and inconsiderate parking near schools and to promote road safety.
The first two schools to benefit from the initiative were Alderley Edge Community Primary School and Gorsey Bank Primary School in Wilmslow.
The visits are designed to prevent children being injured or killed by vehicles at school drop-off and collection times.
Schools in areas deemed at a higher risk and which have drawn up their own travel to school policies are being additionally supported with the presence of enforcement officers, firefighters and the police at promotional events which feature lollipop signs.
As part of the safety campaign, a series of nine cut-out images of children with lollipop signs carrying key safety messages have been created.
They will be deployed across the borough at schools where unsafe parking and driving have been highlighted as a particular high risk.
The messages include ‘Think before you park’, ‘Thank you for driving carefully’; ‘No stopping here’; ‘Caution children’; ‘Slow down’; ‘Drive slowly’; ‘Don’t park on the yellow lines’ and ‘Don’t park on the zig zags’.
Cllr Jos Saunders, cabinet member for children and families at Cheshire East Council, said: “One accident is one too many. We want to make sure all our school children are as safe as possible.
“This partnership initiative is designed to encourage motorists to think more about road safety and for parents and carers to park much more responsibly so that we can aim for accidents and deaths to be eliminated altogether across Cheshire East.”
Cllr Saunders added: “I really like the nine lollipop signs, which all give a range of safety messages to the drivers.
“It’s a great idea and we hope it will help to make a real difference and help to keep our children safe now and in the years to come.”
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service road safety officer Andy Gray said: “Educating people about the dangers of parking near to schools is vital; by doing so we can help to change the attitudes and behaviour of motorist and create a safer environment for the children and road users around our schools.”
Schools are now also being encouraged to devise transport plans, which include active ways to travel to school – for example, cycling or walking or using public transport as opposed to being driven by car.