A Yorkshire council has introduced a new measure to tackle dangerous parking near school gates and entrances in an effort to boost safety, improve the environment and bring health benefits for parents and pupils.
North Yorkshire County Council’s road safety team has bought a set of large signs featuring children, parents and a police officer to encourage people to park away from schools and not to block pavements or roads.
It follows complaints of irresponsible parking by a minority of parents, which 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 authority said.
County Coun 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 authority added encouraging children to walk to school could also have a big impact on childhood obesity and could help concentration levels in the classroom.