12 February 2018

New school year marked by safer crossings but too many speeding motorists

| Glynis Quinlan
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Lyneham Primary School Deputy Principal Ben Roberts, Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris and ‘Lottie Lollipop’ walk with students across the school’s new supervised crossing. Photo: Supplied.

The start of the new school year last week saw parents relieved at the introduction of 20 school crossing supervisors in busy areas but police are disturbed at the number of motorists still speeding in school zones.

Schools such as Lyneham Primary School, which are located in areas with high traffic and pedestrian volumes, have benefited from the new crossing supervisors tasked with helping students cross the road safely.

However, concerns about school road safety continue with ACT Policing issuing 56 infringements to motorists speeding in school zones in the first week of school alone.

Offending motorists included one travelling at nearly double the speed limit outside Radford College in Bruce and another speeding to overtake a vehicle doing the correct speed outside St John Vianney’s Primary School in Waramanga.

Officer in Charge of Traffic Operations, Station Sergeant Marcus Boorman warned motorists that there is no excuse for speeding in school zones.

“It is simple, the faster you go, the less time you have to stop,” Station Sergeant Boorman said. “Children are one of our most vulnerable road users, often behaving in ways we cannot anticipate.

“The 40km/h speed limit provides motorists extra time to stop in unexpected situations, such as children running out between cars and onto our roads.”

ACT Policing warns motorists not to speed in school zones. Photo: Supplied.

Previous incidents or near misses at school crossings, challenging environments, and high traffic volumes were among the factors used to determine where to locate the new school crossing supervisors.

The program focuses on schools with infant, primary or special needs children and includes public, Catholic and independent schools.

ACT Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris said feedback from the new program has been overwhelmingly positive, with principals, teachers and students loving the added safety and resources to keep kids safe going to and from school.

“It’s great that our school crossing supervisors have started at the beginning of the school term, at sites extending from Conder in the south, here at Lyneham and at Amaroo in the north,” said Ms Fitzharris who visited Lyneham Primary School yesterday to give an update on the rollout of the program.

“We know that parents often have some concerns around school zones and the school crossing supervisors are going to make a big difference to increasing the number of kids walking and cycling to school.

“We also know that many schools have issues around carpark congestion and we strongly believe that linking increasing walking and cycling to school will help improve carpark congestion.”

Lyneham Primary School Principal Annamaria Zuffo said the school is excited to have a supervisor working on the Brigalow Street crossing.

“Our school community was delighted to hear that Lyneham Primary School will benefit from a crossing supervisor, particularly given the high traffic in the area,” Ms Zuffo said.

“After just one week the parents and children see the supervisor as part of the school community.

“We hope it gives parents an additional assurance that their children will arrive safely at school each day.”

Crossing supervisors work for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon on school days. Start and finish times are based around the individual school’s start and finish times.

Ms Fitzharris stressed the need for motorists to be extra vigilant around school zones.

“Motorists should be extra careful when driving through school zones to ensure our most vulnerable road users, children, remain safe,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“I’d like to encourage the community to really embrace this new initiative, and for parents to act as role models for children by following their school crossing supervisor’s instructions.”

Click here to see a full list of the supervised crossings or find out further information about the program.

Do you think Canberra motorists take enough care around school zones? Are there safety problems at your local school? Let us know in the comments below.

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