New recruits at school gates promote safe parking message

In response to concerns about irresponsible parking near school gates and entrances, we have recruited new members in an effort to improve road safety, create a safer and cleaner environment and bring health benefits.

Children from Ainderby Steeple Primary School give the new signs the thumbs-up along with staff member Laura Hollinshead and Kevin Pratt, North Yorkshire County Council road safety officer

Irresponsible parking by a minority of parents poses a safety risk to pupils and parents that walk and cycle to school, as well as to other road users and local residents.

The road safety team has bought a set of signs that can be borrowed by schools to be positioned near the school gates. The signs feature school children, parents and a police officer and encourage people to park away from the school entrance and not to block pavements or roads.

Many parents believe that driving their children to school keeps them safe, but each journey increases traffic and congestion, particularly at the school gate. Walking can improve overall fitness in children and adults. It is a cheap, low-impact way to exercise and can have a big impact on health issues such as obesity. Walking to school also helps concentration levels in the classroom. 

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways and the County Council’s Road Safety Champion, said: “We have had problems outside primary schools at morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up. The congestion can cause a nuisance for residents and other road users and potentially endanger lives as children cross between parked cars or people have to walk onto the road because a vehicle is obstructing the pavement.

“In addition, children are missing out on the opportunity to develop vital road safety skills with their parents on the way to school. They don’t build confidence and learn to manage the risks in walking around their community.

“We hope these signs will help schools that experience a problem to get the message over in a friendly but clear way.

“We realise that some parents and carers have no alternative but to drive their children to school. However, many are driving short distances where walking is a real option. Even those who have to drive can do their bit by starting their journey five minutes earlier, parking away from the school and walking for part of the journey.”

The signs are available for use by schools. Any schools interested can email the road safety team at road.safety@northyorks.gov.uk.

This story was published 28 November 2017