Widower calls for 20mph limit outside all schools: What do you think of the idea?

Published: 7 Dec 2012 09:302 comments

A WIDOWER whose wife was killed when a car mounted a kerb while she was doing the school run is calling for 20mph speed limits to be enforced outside all Bracknell Forest schools.

John Shepherd was left traumatised when his wife, Brenda, and two children, Richard and Lynne, were struck by a car outside Harmans Water Primary School in 1986.

But despite the tragedy, there is still no 20mph speed restriction outside the school in Wellington Drive.

Less than half of the borough's primary schools - 13 out of 27 - have a 20mph limit enforced outside their gates and no Bracknell Forest secondary schools have such a restriction.

Mr Shepherd's children - who were 11 and seven-years-old at the time - were unharmed but spent years shell-shocked, so much so that Mr Shepherd had to give up his job to look after them.

"It totally changed my life and the children were utterly traumatised," he said. "If that car had been going at 20mph my wife would almost certainly be alive today.

Mr Shepherd, a retired entrepreneur, argued that if it is not possible for a 20mph speed limit to be in place all the time that perhaps it could be in force for certain hours of the day.

Bracknell's MP Dr Phillip Lee has backed Mr Shepherd's campaign and said: "I am particularly struck that only 13 out of 27 schools in the borough have 20mph speed limits, and would certainly support a reduction around the other 14.

"Reducing speeds will reduce casualties, with research showing that for each one mph reduction, casualties drop by 5%.

"With support from Government, Bracknell Forest Council and our local community, I think we can achieve this and save lives."

However Cllr Mary Ballin, Bracknell Forest Council's executive member for transport, argued that some roads are simply "not suitable" for a 20mph limit due to their structure.

She added: "Where it's possible, the speed limits outside schools are in place."

Do you agree there should be a 20mph limit outside all schools in Bracknell Forest? Please add your comments below.

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  • 20splentyforus
    1 post
    Dec 7, 12:30
    Report abuse

    How School Safety Zones are not a priority when children need a community wide 20mph speed limit!!

    Briefing sheet on why 20mph School Safety Zones can have minimum impact on child road safety and will encourage inactive travel to school.

    On the face of it, having a 20mph speed limits around a school entrance seems an sensible idea. However, a closer inspection may lead us to a very different conclusion

    First some background and key facts :-

     Only a small minority of child road casualties occur on the way to or from school (Just 20%).1

     Very few casualties occur outside the school itself.

     The mean radius of school safety zones is just 300m, yet the mean distance travelled to school is 1.8km. Hence the school safety zones apply to only 17% of the journey.2

     At exit gateways to school safety zones drivers are reminded of an increase in speed limit to 30mph.

    So why are we so pre-occupied with school safety zones if children are most likely to be casualties on the rest of the road network where there are higher speed limits, and when they are not on the way to or from school?

    Well the answer is for most of us when looking at the issue we see most children around schools and presume that this is where the danger is. And of course for parents driving their children to school it is the part of the journey when they feel most out of control when their children get out of the car. For them a school safety zone improves safety for 100% of their child’s pedestrian journey from the car to the school. Hence it is seen as desirable by school-run parents.

    But what of the child who walks or cycles all the way from their home to school. The school safety zone now only works for 17% of their journey. For drivers isolated 20mph school safety zones reinforce and legitimise driving at faster speeds outside of the immediate school location, hence increasing the risk to pedestrian and cycling children.

    Whilst school safety zones do minimally increase safety around schools it has a negative effect on safety for children walking or cycling to school outside of those zones. Their biggest disadvantage is that they can lead parents and highway authorities to believe that they have “fixed the problem” of child road safety.

    Instead of focussing on school safety zones we should be ensuring that children are given better conditions for walking and cycling for the whole route from their home to school. That can best be achieved by deploying a low-cost Total 20 policy which makes 20mph the default for residential and urban roads including those around schools. For the same cost as a school safety zone you can cover 50 times the number of surrounding streets with a wide area 20mph limit.

    It’s time to recognise that we need community-wide safety for children and not just in the last 100m of their school journey.

    Feedback We welcome your response on this press release. We provide more information on our site www.20splentyforus.org.uk and can provide advice on technical issues.

    20’s Plenty For Us campaigns for a 20mph default speed limit in residential streets without physical calming. www.20splentyforus.org.uk anna.s@20splentyforus.org.uk

    1 The AA Motoring Trust: The facts about road accidents and children

    2 Transport for London: Safety of Schoolchildren on London Roads

    Recommend?   Yes 5     No 0

  • DunMoaning
    71 posts
    Dec 7, 13:51
    Report abuse

    It depends what road it is on. If you impose on a fast road ie 40 MPH you will cause as many problems as it solving and It does not matter what speed limit you impose. People ignore them?

    What you need is good signage, poorer lighting, pedestrian crossings and flashing warning lights which only come on during school times as very effective and making you aware the school is there.

    Also parking should be stopped outside schools as this obscures the vision of the driver, barriers put up opposite the gates to prevent children running out unexpectly.

    Education of parents as to safe parking - Was walking near Owlsmoor Primary School and although there is a car free zone immediatley outside this the parking was horrendous - one car was parked on the pavement on the apex of the corner blocking the pedestrian ramp making it dangerous for pedestrains and car drivers, loads of others with mothers waiting in them blocking pavements.

    Driver education and improved education for children as to the dangers of roads is what is really needed - you should always be driving to suit the environment and road conditions.

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 0