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5 February 2010, 10:50 | Updated: 5 February 2010, 11:05
School children have launched a campaign against parents who park on zig-zag lines near their school.
Children from St Swithun's Catholic Primary, Southsea, went into action outside the school, reminding drivers not to endanger them by parking illegally on the lines. They were backed up by officers from Portsmouth City Council and police.
The pupils’ action was in St Simon’s Road, Southsea, near the entrance to Mayville High School. Mayville is next door to St Swithun’s, and parents with children at either school tend to park here.
Police have observed a growing number of cars parked on zig-zags in the area, and are working with the council to educate drivers there and citywide. More schools will be targeted soon.
Sgt Justin Roberts of Hampshire Constabulary said: "Parking on the zig-zag lines outside a school can be very dangerous, with so many children and adults walking around and other vehicles in the area. By blocking the view from directly outside the school gates drivers are creating a very real hazard. We were aiming to get this message across with the operation outside St Swithun’s. Many people aren't aware that they are doing anything wrong by parking on zig-zags, and so by educating drivers we can help safeguard children on their way to and from school."
Amber Kerens Bathmaker, the council’s road safety team leader, said: “Parents are very often seen parking on the zig-zags outside the schools as they are dropping their children off. They ignore the signs and the road markings. St Swithun’s is a Roman Catholic school and Mayville is private, so both have quite wide catchments, which means more parents tend to drive. About four pupils took part in the event. They’ve been appointed junior road safety officers under a scheme we run with schools. They had an eye-catching banner and leaflets, and were on a mission to remind drivers why they shouldn’t park on zig-zags. Children can't see over the top of parked cars, so they can’t look for oncoming traffic when they need to cross the road. And oncoming drivers can’t see them if they’re behind a parked car.”
Cllr Lynne Stagg, the council’s Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, said: "Zig-zags are used to keep an area free from cars to allow people to cross the road safely. In themselves, they only prevent parking between certain times. But Portsmouth was one of the first authorities to strengthen zig-zag lines with no-stopping orders, which mean you can get a ticket even if you stop to drop off or pick up children. If you stop on a yellow school zig-zag between 8am and 4pm you are liable to get a ticket. You can't park, pick up or set down - even if you're collecting or dropping off children. Teachers, taxis and visitors to schools are not exempt."
"A minority of parents seem to feel its acceptable to drop their children off by stopping on zig-zags. They think about the safety of their own children but are endangering other children. We encourage parents and children to walk or cycle to school – the fewer cars there are on the school run, the safer it will be. But if they have to drive, then they need to remember the rules on zig-zag lines and why they are there.”