PUPILS’ safety is being jeopardised by parents’ insistence on parking as close to Barnsley schools as possible during the morning rush hour, it has been claimed this week.
Children returned from their summer break last week and although the new term is just days old, warnings have already been issued by police and highways bosses urging parents to park a safe distance away.
A matter which has affected many locations across the borough, walk-to-school initiatives, regular newsletters, police patrols and even petitions - issued by concerned residents in Darton and Royston - have so far failed to deter parents from clogging up streets.
The South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership (SYSRP) made a plea to parents and carers to choose a safe place to park away from the school gates.
Joanne Wehrle, SYSRP manager, said: “We appreciate that people can be in a rush in a morning and that getting children to school on time can be hard work.
“But it is extremely important that you don’t park in restricted areas including the keep clear zig-zags or double yellow lines.
“Parked cars outside schools can be a hazard and stopping on the yellow zig-zag lines puts children at risk.
“If walking or catching the bus isn’t an option for you, please park in a legal and safe place and give yourself extra time in a morning.
“Because of their size, children can’t see if the road is clear from behind parked cars and drivers can’t see children hidden from sight.
“Please make sure that your children know that roads are dangerous and don’t let very young children out on their own.”
A school blighted by parking problems has been Barugh Green Primary, on Higham Common Road, which was the scene of several crashes involving HGVs colliding with parents’ cars.
Governor Shirley Musgrave said: “It’s been bad for many years now but we’re at the stage where something really must be done to prevent accidents from occurring.
“The HGV driver didn’t even know he’d hit a car during the first incident so it doesn’t bear thinking about if that had been a child, of which there are many on pavements during the morning and afternoon peak times.”
Sgt Dave Baines, who heads up a policing team which covers from Darton to Royston, added: “Bad parking is an issue outside most schools in Barnsley and it should be an easy thing to solve.
“A stronger message will be sent out if a motorist is fined, but I don’t think it’s suitable to simply put more PCSOs on the job.
“One yellow line painted down the road would stop it, but there’s budget constraints to deal with and that is a council matter.
“People must remember that bad parking doesn’t necessarily mean it’s illegal parking, but I understand how frustrating it is for people and we are doing something about it.”