Parents and carers across Co. Mayo are being encouraged to pledge their support for a new scheme aimed at tackling inappropriate and illegal parking around schools.
Many schools suffer from inconsiderate parking around the school entrance and in nearby streets and as a result children's safety is being put at risk.
With the support of schools and Mayo County Council has launched the Parents' Parking Promise.
The promise encourages even more parents and carers to park responsibly around schools or consider using other modes of transport such as walking, cycling or bus journeys to help children travel to and from school safely.
The promise asks everyone that signs up to:
- not park on zig zag or double yellow lines
- not park on pavements
- park carefully and considerately
- consider walking or cycling to schools, or take part in the Park & Stride (if the school has this one) and park a short distance away from the school and walk the remaining bit - which are both healthier alternatives.
By signing up to the scheme and completing the Parking Promise form parents/carers will then receive a car badge from their School, which is unique to their children's school, which demonstrates their commitment to parking responsibly and hopes to further strengthens their support to the scheme.
One School principal said: "Over the past 20-years the percentage of children travelling to school by car nationally has doubled."
"Schools working with parents we hope to further highlight that there are other options available than driving to school, but if parents choose this option then we want to encourage them to do this safely and join this scheme to make children feel safer on their way to and from school."
"Many head teachers have expressed concerns to us about the inappropriate parking outside their schools and in response to these concerns we are introducing the road safety camera car. However, we hope that by highlighting the Parking' Parents Promise scheme it will help raise even more awareness and help further reduce poor parking around schools."
A recent report by the RSA 'Child Casualties Report 1997 to 2012' showed that 252 children were killed and 1,059 were seriously injured on Irish roads between 1997 and 2010; 43% of children killed during this period were pedestrians, and 42% of children killed and seriously injured were car passengers.
"It is really important that the roads around schools are as safe as possible and hopefully this campaign will prompt people to be more considerate and bear the safety of children in mind."
"It's great that the children at schools in Co. Mayo are getting involved in promoting the scheme and I would encourage as many people as possible to take part, back the campaign and help make our children safer."
Noel Gibbons, road safety officer, Mayo County Council, said: "Many local schools and residents are suffering with these parking problems and we're asking motorists to be more mindful when parking even for a short period of time."
"These set down areas are outside our schools for a very good reason. They're there to keep pupils safe by creating a sight line that enables them to see and be seen before crossing the road."
"The majority of drivers do take notice of these markings and behave responsibly - but there is also a persistent and thoughtless minority who ignore these restrictions for their own selfish convenience."
"These people continue to use restricted zones when dropping off and collecting children just to save themselves what amounts to seconds of their time."
Tips for students:
- Use designated crossing points and follow the crossing signals where available
- Remove headphones from Ipods and MP3 Players when crossing the roadways
- Dress to be seen - daylight hours are decreasing so wear brighter colours or reflective material whenever possible
- Walk on the sidewalk, or if unavailable walk on the side of the road facing the traffic
- Always be aware of your surroundings
Tips for Drivers:
- Plan ahead and be alert of children near or around junctions
- When dropping children off in a school area, stop and allow them to exit the vehicle onto the footpath side.
- Do not block buses or use designated bus only areas for dropping off or picking up your children.
Did you know?
- Until children are about eight years of age, it is difficult for them to assess whether a vehicle is moving or not.
- When children see an approaching car, they first notice the colour - not how fast the vehicle is travelling.
- Children assume cars stop instantly, and do not have the ability to estimate whether there is enough time to cross the road without being struck.
- A child's field of vision is one-third narrower than an adult's.
- Children have difficulty determining where sounds are coming from.
- It takes a vehicle 13 metres to come to a complete stop when driving 30 km/h, but 27 metres - more than double that distance - when driving 50 km/h.