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Cut your speed around Frome schools – calls for 20mph limits

A NATIONWIDE campaign is calling for more 20mph limits in local communities,  particularly on the roads around all schools, and it is being backed by schools in Frome.

Launched by the road safety charity, Brake, the GO 20 campaign wants children to be able to walk to school without fear or threat from fast traffic.

It is calling on the government and local authorities to implement 20mph limits in towns and villages, alongside other measures such as safe pavements, paths, and crossings.

Schools in Frome say they would benefit from 20mph limits – and that where they already exist, they make it safer for children to walk or cycle to schools.

Stephen Kirby, headteacher at Selwood Academy on Berkley Road said, “I would welcome a 20 mph restriction, as we cater for nearly 700 pupils aged 9-13 and are situated right by a busy road.

“Anything that restricts the speed of vehicles from 30mph to 20 mph has got to make sense as it can make the difference between life and death, or can certainly reduce the likelihood of  a  serious injury.

“We do have a manned pedestrian crossing right outside school, which helps at the busiest times of the day, but extra health and safety measures such as further speed restrictions would be welcome.”

Michelle O’Shea, assistant headteacher at Oakfield Academy said, “We would welcome a reduction in speed, if it were to be imposed on the road outside the school, as we believe it would be an important measure to safeguard our pupils on their way in and out of school.”

Alan Burgess, headteacher at St John’s First School on Christchurch Street East said, “We don’t have a 20mph limit, but we would very much welcome one. We don’t understand why we don’t have one, when other schools do.

Busy road

“One of the biggest issues for us is that we’re a school on a busy road which has some very heavy vehicles, and it  doesn’t even have a pavement on both sides near the school.

“We’ve really benefited from the local road safety unit, who came and did pedestrian training with all our children – we’re so aware of the danger.”

Phil Burner, headteacher at Trinity First School, says their existing 20mph limit is essential in encouraging children to walk to school. He said, “We have an extensive 20mph zone around the school. It is very important in reducing travel speeds to safe stopping speeds, as the roads are full of pedestrians at each end of the day. We want children to walk to school so we must make it safe.”

Rat run

Chapmanslade School is situated on the A3098, the main route from Frome to Westbury. Berkeley  Basinger-Adams, headteacher, says he would like to see 20mph limits outside the school, and the local community group is very active in conducting speed checks and discussing the issue. He said, “I do feel a 20mph speed limit outside of our school is important for the safety of the children before and after school.

“Our parents and staff are fantastic, they drive and park with great care and consideration for other users, pedestrians and children. However, the village road is used as a ‘rat-run’ short cut by businesses and individuals and, as such, is a very busy road.

“I would be keen to support any action that would make the road even safer for children outside of our school, that would enable parent drop-off and collection easier, and that would ease the parking congestion problems for our neighbours.”

A recent survey by the charity Brake, and Hampson Hughes Solicitors, of 500 UK primary schools reveals teachers are deeply concerned about pupils’ ability to walk or cycle to school safely. Nine in ten schools (92%) think local roads need to be made safer for children to walk and cycle and eight in 10 (81%) want 20mph limits around the school and on routes connecting the school with local homes. Only one in 10 schools (12%) say they already have 20mph limits.

Julie Townsend, Brake’s deputy chief executive said, “One of the best ways to protect kids on foot and bike is to slow maximum traffic speeds to 20mph around homes, schools and shops, to create a safe haven for walking and cycling. ‘GOing 20’ makes our communities nicer places to be, enables people of all ages to get out and about on foot and bike, improves health, and saves lives. We are appealing to government, local authorities and drivers around the UK to put children’s safety and wellbeing first, and GO 20.”

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