Parents launch petition for safe school crossing

PETITION LAUNCH ... for a school crossing patrol officer and traffic lights to be introduced at Laygate.

PETITION LAUNCH ... for a school crossing patrol officer and traffic lights to be introduced at Laygate.

PARENTS are petitioning for their children’s safety at a South Tyneside school crossing.

The group fears that pupils at Laygate Community School, in South Shields, are in danger after a woman was hit by a car on a zebra crossing outside the school earlier this week.

Kathy Johnston, 69, was on her mobility scooter on the crossing in Laygate, when she was hit.

She was taken to South Tyneside District Hospital. No further action was taken against the driver, but Mrs Johnston is backing the campaign.

She said: “I know I was lucky, but they need to have a pelican crossing or something there so that drivers have to stop.

“Not everyone does stop at a zebra crossing.

“If a bairn runs out in the road or a car doesn’t stop, they might not be so lucky.”

Speaking on behalf of the concerned parents, Adele Baker, of Simonside, South Shields, said: “Some of the parents have actually been talking to the school about this for the last year, but it’s become even more of an issue now that someone has been hit on the crossing.

“Even just this morning I was nearly knocked over on the zebra crossing. The cars travel too fast up and down the road and it’s too dangerous for the children.

“We think this is the only school in the borough that doesn’t have a safe crossing, and what’s happened this week just proves that there is a danger to our children.”

Ms Baker’s children, John Connor Baker, 11, and Rebecca, seven, attend the school.

Last year, John Connor was hit by a car in Western Approach, Laygate, and airlifted to hospital by the Great North Air Ambulance.

Ms Baker, 35, added: “John Connor has already been hit by a car in Laygate, and I’m scared that it could happen again.

“If the kids had a lollipop man or woman to help them cross the road, they’d be a lot safer, and it would help to teach them about when it’s safe to cross the road.

“We can only teach them so much, but having someone like that to look up to would really help the kids. I used to love seeing the lollipop lady on my way to school every day.

“I’ve even seen times when a bus is stopped at the zebra and a car pulls out around the bus before seeing there are kids on the crossing.

“A young girl was knocked down and killed there in the 70s, and although that was a long time ago, it just shows that the road has always been dangerous, and there are even more cars now.”

The parents have launched an online petition, which they plan to hand in to South Tyneside Council on April 2.

You can sign it at, http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/laygate-needs-a-lollypop-person

A Facebook group, called ‘Get Laygate School a lollipop lady and keep our kids safe’, has also been created.

Coun Lynne Proudlock, Simonside and Rekendyke ward member, said: “We take the issue of road safety very seriously, especially around our schools, and have plans to install a vehicle activated sign on this particular stretch of road within the next few days.

“Additional road safety measures in this area are something we have discussed with the school and parents, and this new sign will remind drivers approaching the school to slow down and drive carefully.

“The new sign will also strengthen the road safety provision that is already in place by working alongside the zebra crossing to provide safe crossing measures 24 hours a day.

“We hope this helps to reassure parents of the importance we place on having safe crossings, not just for schoolchildren but for all users.

“We will also be discussing the recent incident with the police to see if there are any further factors which may be improved in the area.

“We expect all motorists to drive with care, particularly near to a school and would ask parents and local residents to report those who drive irresponsibly. In addition, we will be asking the police for assistance in making sure people are driving with due care and attention in the school vicinity.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki




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