As I met with local parents, local councillor Martin Straker-Welds and Garry Dalton from BCC responsible for road improvements, this Wednesday at 3:40, a coach reversed up the school drive, onto the pavement, parking neatly blocking the pedestrian access to the school.
There was no way he could have seen behind him, it forced children leaving the school into the road, and demonstrated perfectly why the entrance is so dangerous. But then this is nothing new (see previous post). It was a depressing, but familiar sight for all of us - we all fell silent for a moment, watching the coach, while small children played with the temporary road blocks, moving them around to make scootering across the school entrance easier.
|Jago's hand, a month after, stitches nearly gone.|
I want to see more general improvements in our area to make things safer for children, to prevent tragedies like Hope's death recently.
But this meeting was about a very particular situation, and certainly highlighted for me, what I thought was an important question:
Who is responsible? What would happen if a child had been hit by this coach, or a car had hit a child forced into the road? Would it be the parent who had let go of the child's hand? Would it be the driver who had hit the child? How's about the council who had not adequately prevented cars reversing up the service road? Or maybe the school who had not adequately made the entrance to the school safe? At Wheelers Lane there is also Balfour Beaty who effectively own the strip of no-man's land outside the school - shouldn't htey have done something? There is also a couple of school neighbours who in consultations seem to see access to the frontage of their houses as more important than safety of the children.
Maybe I had got it wrong. We should really be looking at who is willing to take responsibility to make things better. Who is going to keep shining a light on the obvious dangers, and make the changes we need?
Local campaign for safer roads in Kings Heath started
Kings Heath Neighbourhood forum and Transition Initiative
Wheelers Lane Safe route to school campaign