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Children plead to motorists to slow down and park safely

13 February

Children in Medway are urging drivers to slow down near schools as part of a road safety campaign.

Medway Council’s road safety team works with schools throughout the year to remind motorists of their responsibility of driving carefully and to educate children on how to stay safe on and near the roads.

The team randomly selected three primary schools out of 10 which had the highest number of penalty charge notices issued to motorists parking illegally and dangerously close to the school gates in 2015/16.

Officers from the council’s parking services and road safety team worked together to conduct a survey with the parents of children at St. Michael’s RC Primary School in Chatham, Maudene Primary School in Walderslade and St Margaret’s Church of England Junior School in Rainham. The survey gave parents the opportunity to raise their concerns on dangerous and illegal parking outside the schools. They were also asked if they would be interested in their children taking part in the walking bus and if they would like to get involved with the chaperoning of this to keep motorists and pedestrians safe. Following the feedback, the road safety team is working closely with the schools to help them start up more walking buses.

Parking officers and a member of the road safety team visited each of the three schools to teach the children about the importance of zig-zag lines and road signs to help keep them safe when going to and from school. They also explained the purpose of the CCTV car, which was taken to the schools to show the children how they monitor vehicles parking irresponsibly.

Poster competition

Every child had the opportunity to design a poster aimed to encourage drivers to slow down near the school and to park safely. Each school submitted their winning designs which were then judged by Councillor Phil Filmer, Portfolio Holder for Frontline Services, who selected an overall winner. The winning design, by Aysu Gonul of St Margaret’s Church of England Junior School in Rainham, was made into a banner and displayed on the school’s gates on Thursday, 9 February.

Road safety banner

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Frontline Services Cllr Phil Filmer said: “It is extremely important to speak with children about road safety, especially at this time of the year with the longer, darker days. I would encourage all young people walking or cycling to and from school to wear reflective or bright items of clothing so they can be easily seen.

“Parking restrictions are in place for the safety of the public. A vehicle parking illegally might restrict the view of a child attempting to cross the road. I hope the poster helps reminds drivers of the importance of driving slowly and parking safely near schools.”

Rewarding project

Mrs Pattenden, head teacher of St Margaret’s Church of England Junior School, said: “St Margaret’s CE Junior School have thoroughly enjoyed being part of this important project. It has been rewarding to see how the pupils have embraced the issue in their local community.”