Road safety messages should be disseminated to parents of school children as well as to the students themselves to reduce serious accidents, a meeting heard.
Bradford Council’s South Bradford Area Committee was discussing road safety in the constituency at a meeting this month when a councilor claimed a major problem was parents were desperate to drop off their children’ as close to the school gate as possible.
The committee heard that data from 2021 showed that in Bradford there were 39.6 children killed or seriously injured per 100,000 – the highest rate in West Yorkshire.
This compares to 26.1 per 100,000 children in Calderdale and 33 per 100,000 children in Leeds.
Members were informed that all schools benefit from road safety programmes, and that such visits are more urgent in schools in areas with high accident rates.
Committee chairman Councilor Dave Green (Laboratory, Wibsey) said a major road safety issue was indiscriminate parking by parents outside schools.
He said: “Some parents want to drop off little Jimmy Miggins as close to the school gates as possible, despite any parking restrictions that may exist.
“By doing this, they often put their own child, as well as other people’s children, at risk. You get cars stopping in the middle of the road and kids jumping as well as cars parking in zigzag lines.
“At Wibsey we even had a passing patrol car hit by a car.”
He pointed out that funding issues meant principals or police were often only able to patrol sites outside any school for a short time.
He added: “It makes things better for 48 hours, but then we go back to where we were before.
“Do we have messages in place to say to parents ‘do you really need to park there? “”
Becky James, Road Safety Team Leader, said: “We are trying to change the culture of drivers who feel they need to park as close to the school gates as possible. We can put resources into it, but if no one is there to enforce it, the behavior will not change.
Cllr Green asked if it was possible to extend the road safety messages given to children at school to their parents.
He added: “Is it possible that we can work to make them aware of the dangers that they need to be aware of? Working with children alone is not the solution.
Ms James said they had tried to work with parents but found that parents willing to engage in safety programs were often not the ones to talk to.
Members agreed to consider finding new ways to promote road safety messages more widely, including to parents.