The Harrogate District Road Safety Group has launched an awareness campaign reminding drivers of the dangers of illegal and irresponsible parking outside schools.
The group, which includes representatives from Harrogate Borough Council, North Yorkshire County Council, the police, fire and rescue service, ambulance, neighbourhood watch and the voluntary sector, has been working directly with a number of schools within the district to address this problem.
Traffic congestion, caused by parents parking their cars while they drop off or pick up their children, has been a long-standing issue for many schools. To highlight the seriousness of this problem, three banners have been designed with the messages “Stopping on the zig zags is Selfish & Dangerous”, “School Keep Clear – No Stopping – No Excuses” and “School Keep Clear – Don’t Stop Here”. The banners will be displayed prominently outside schools to make drivers think about where they park and the potential risk that it may cause to children and other road users. So far ten schools have been identified that would benefit from the banners and the roll out will take place in the coming weeks.
Parents are also being asked to sign a parking pledge to support the project, agreeing not to park where there are restrictions, such as on yellow lines, keep clear zig zags and on the pavement, and to park where it is safe for children to get into and out of the vehicle.
Harrogate Borough Council Leader Councillor Richard Cooper said: “Schools are busy places at the beginning and end of the school day and this does cause a number of concerns for the welfare of young people and parents as they drop off and collect their children.
“This campaign will raise awareness of this issue and hopefully make drivers think about their actions and the potential consequences for other road users and pedestrians – including children. By heeding the warning not to park outside schools, drivers will be doing their bit to prevent accidents and serious injury on our roads.
“The campaign will also provide the perfect opportunity for schools to discuss the issue of road and car safety with pupils which will raise their understanding and in turn raise awareness with their parents.”
Sandra Langley, Headteacher at Holy Trinity Church of England Infant School in Ripon, one of the schools which have displayed the banners said: “We are very pleased with our new eye catching banner and hope that it will make a difference to the safety of our children. We have constant problem of a few cars stopping or parking on Trinity Lane at the beginning and end of school day. This causes real problems as it narrows the road and means cars cannot pass each other it also puts pedestrians in danger. We have run several campaigns and sent information in our newsletters, I am hoping that the banner will have a real impact.”
Schools interested in being involved with the project should contact Julia Stack, Harrogate Borough Council’s Community Safety & CCTV Manager via www.saferharrogate.co.uk.