Road Safety Outside Schools

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
Posts: 100
Joined: 20 Jan 2015, 5:16pm

Road Safety Outside Schools

Postby danhopgood » 17 Oct 2019, 10:44am

I take my son to primary school on a tandem and experience really poor parking behaviour outside the school - blocked driveways and junctions, parking on double yellows - including recently by a minibus run by the school itself.

I don't loiter, but in passing I speak to those I see parking dangerously and have written to the school about its own behaviour - which has resulted in the following written response from the school Trust "I urge caution in approaching others with regard to misdemeanors on the road / pavement, you maybe hold liable for any accidents or injury that may occur out of such action. It can also be perceived as harassment, which can have its own set of repercussions by the law."

That feels to me like a threat for asking people to obey the law. Should I just turn a blind eye this behaviour? I find it hard to do that when it's a safety issue. I've suggested several times to the schoool they use education to encourage better behaviour and given examples of how they can do that, but no action has resulted. Any suggestions of action that might be more successful?

User avatar
Posts: 14032
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly

Re: Road Safety Outside Schools

Postby mjr » 17 Oct 2019, 11:06am

Turn up at your local police neighbourhood meetings. The squeaky wheel gets the grease there and this seems a lot more deserving to me than many of what they get. Take the letter that shows the school trust feels so unsafe that it is advising parents not to challenge lawbreakers on their doorstep.

Write to the local highways and schools councillor - the council probably have advice+resources packs for schools to tackle problem parking and I suspect that warning parents they could be sued or prosecuted isn't part of it!
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

Posts: 11281
Joined: 30 Nov 2013, 11:26am

Re: Road Safety Outside Schools

Postby brynpoeth » 17 Oct 2019, 11:14am

Print short extracts from the legislation to 'educate' them, and media reports about parents who lost a child in an 'accident'
Entertainer, kidult, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we love life

Posts: 10457
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Road Safety Outside Schools

Postby pwa » 17 Oct 2019, 12:05pm

It is true that there is some pretty rubbish behaviour by drivers near schools. But on a technical point, a bus or minibus stopping on double yellows to let people disembark is not necessarily breaking any rules. Loading and unloading on double yellows is permitted so long as it does not create a hazard. That last bit is the crucial bit.

Remonstrating with people about their driving on the public highway is a choice you make and it is down to your judgement. You presumably recognise that some people might react badly to that and you accept the risk because you feel strongly about it. Your choice.

Posts: 77
Joined: 30 Aug 2019, 8:46pm

Re: Road Safety Outside Schools

Postby Darkman » 17 Oct 2019, 2:25pm

Parking at my kids school is horrendous. People just abandon their cars wherever they like. And when they've done that, they stand around for 20 minutes gossiping to each other so nobody else can get parked either.

The school is on a narrow one-way street, with no pavements at one end for about 50yds, and I regularly see kids (5-11 year olds) going home on scooters and bikes the wrong way down the street. Last week as I was turning into the road (in the car), I nearly hit an idiot adult doing the same thing, RIDING a child's bike that he was far too big for.

Missus has banned me from lessoning people though.

Posts: 100
Joined: 20 Jan 2015, 5:16pm

Re: Road Safety Outside Schools

Postby danhopgood » 17 Oct 2019, 5:58pm

Thanks for those replies. This an independent school, so as far as I'm aware not so well attached to local authoritiy ways of doing things. I think the council are doing what they can - they put in a traffic island with more double yellows to improve the road crossing at the school. That work was instigated by the council and not the school.

There used to be a Police community meeting, but when I raised the subject about road safety about another school, the response from the Police amounted to "the congestion caused by vehicles parked everywhere slows down the traffic, so the risk is low".(!). Those meetings don't take place now, there's just an occasional drop in session during wekday working hours that I can't get to.

The school minibus incident involved the "full monty" of blocking an access, blocking visibility to a junction and parking on double yellow lines.

I did go through a phase of putting notes on cars with details of the risks they were causing with their behaviour. That did result in me getting a letter form a parent, delivered via the school, saying that they'd seen the errors of their ways and would change their behaviour. I must admit speaking to people directly it is hard to have a sensible conversation. I can try that tactic again with a couple of pre-prepared notes.

My main gripe is with the school though. They just don't think they have any responsibilty to manage activity outside the chool gates that's a result of the operation of the school.

Maybe there's a requirement for them to produce and deliver a travel plan that I could hold them to account with? I'm not sure what the regulations are.

Posts: 1060
Joined: 10 Oct 2009, 8:20am

Re: Road Safety Outside Schools

Postby tim-b » 18 Oct 2019, 5:34am

I suspect that outside of the school is just that, and that it's a matter for the police/local authority parking patrols. You could try the Independent Schools Inspectorate, "partnership with statutory agencies towards our mutual goal of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. The safety of children and young people is at the heart of all our work" ISI link. Ofsted for non-association schools
HSE is quite clear about its responsibilities (link)

Posts: 1965
Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 4:23am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Road Safety Outside Schools

Postby Oldjohnw » 18 Oct 2019, 7:20am

For all the reprehensible behaviour of the parents delivering their minors to the school, the school is, unfortunately, correct. That does, of course, mean that the school authorities should be doing something about it: they cannot stop you then ignore the problem themselves.

There are many non-confrontational thing that you can do some of which are mentioned above. You could write to the chair of governors: your request must be tabled at a meeting. You can become a governor yourself.

Cycling and recycling

Posts: 1468
Joined: 24 Jul 2013, 5:19pm

Re: Road Safety Outside Schools

Postby Postboxer » 18 Oct 2019, 11:12am

Go to the local paper suggesting that the school are threatening to hold you liable for any injury that may occur if you approach the school to challenge them on their own bad parking outside of the school putting their pupils at risk.

That letter is terrible. Does it even address the issue that their own minibus parks badly? Are we talking just double yellows or zig-zags as well. My kid's school occasionally texts everyone to remind them not to block driveways and not to park on the zig-zags but I've seen coaches for school trips park on them both before and after trips and the school minibus also. As well as delivery drivers from the local supermarket and other people such as sports coaches from outside of the school park there to move their equipment into school for the day. If the school want to text the parents I think they should also warn these other people they have custom with to not park there too.