Calls for 20mph zones outside schools

Parents and teachers in the Thames Valley want driver to slow down outside schools.

Children in the Thames Valley say drivers go too fast in their community and put their lives in danger.  

10% say they have been knocked down while walking or cycling; a further 51% have had a near miss; and 17% more have had a scary experience with traffic. 

Children at Windmill Primary School, Headington in Oxford, are helping to launch the campaign by calling on drivers to slow down to 20mph or below around schools and homes. The school had a 20mph zone installed outside last year.

Road Safety Charity Brake says driving at 20mph or slower, you have a good chance of stopping in time if a child runs out three car lengths in front of you. Any faster than this, you would hit the child and have a significant chance of killing or maiming them. 

In 2009, 10 children were killed and 343 were seriously injured on roads in the South of England – that’s seven deaths and serious injuries every week.

Brake's calling on the Government to put in place a strategy and targets to continue bringing child deaths and serious injuries down – with a long term goal to reduce them to zero – and to make communities safer for children and families to walk and cycle without fear of fast traffic. Brake believes that lowering the default urban limit to 20mph and ensuring speed limits are enforced are key steps towards this.

Lynn Knapp, head teacher at Windmill Primary School, says:

“We’re incredibly fortunate to have a 20mph zone outside. Before it was introduced we were desperately worried about the threat of traffic to the children’s safety. Most schools are not as fortunate, and of course many of our pupils live on roads where fast traffic stops them getting out and about safely. We're calling on drivers to slow down to 20mph on all roads where there are homes, schools and community facilities. We’re also encouraging authorities to put in place 20mph limits as widely as possible in communities – it makes the world of difference when it comes to protecting children.”

Last week, there was speculation speed cameras were to be reinstated in Oxfordshire as soon as April next year, with Thames Valley Police taking over the cost and running of the cameras, funding it through fees from drivers sent on speed awareness courses.

Spokespeople from the police and Oxfordshire County Council have told Heart they are close to coming to an agreement to get the cameras up and running again.