Speeding vehicles are putting children in danger

Councillor Mark Perks, third right, and PC Lisa Hough, join parents protesting about speeding motorists at a lights crossing outside St John's Primary School on the A6 at Whittle-le-Woods.

Councillor Mark Perks, third right, and PC Lisa Hough, join parents protesting about speeding motorists at a lights crossing outside St John's Primary School on the A6 at Whittle-le-Woods.

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Worried parents say they fear for the lives of their young children due to speeding motorists outside school.

They warn the situation at Whittle-le-Woods CE Primary, on the busy A6 Preston Road, is a serious accident waiting to happen and are demanding immediate safety
improvements.

Just last Wednesday, as the school returned from the summer break, there were three near-misses, they say.

In one, a parent crossing with his child at pelican lights in front of the school, was in collision with a car.

Luckily Darren Catterall, 31, of Paradise Close, Whittle-le-Woods, who ended up on the bonnet of the vehicle, was unhurt. He said: “You wait for the buzzer going and set off walking. I heard a screeching – that’s what made me turn left and have a look. I saw it buffeting left and right, so it was going at some speed.

“I knew it was going to hit me when I turned round, so I put my son to arm’s length, pushing him further on the road. The driver put his arm up and reversed.”

Darren was slightly struck on the back of the leg.

Spearheading the safety campaign is Karen Field, 38, of Cow Well Lane, Whittle-le-Woods, who has one child at the school.

She said: “In June a little boy was knocked over by a van and he was crossing when the lights were red.

“There were three incidents last Wednesday. The children had only been back at school one day and already a parent was knocked over.”

She added: “Ideally we’d like the speed limit to be lowered, better visibility for the crossing and a crossing attendant. There was a crossing attendant about five or six years ago. There are other schools in the area, they have a crossing attendant.

“You don’t want it to take someone getting killed before you get action.”

Another parent, Sue Melling, of Delph Way, Whittle-le-Woods, who has a daughter at the school, said: “I have lost count of the number of times I have witnessed a near-miss on the crossing.

“This has principally been because of drivers continuing to drive across the crossing when the lights are on red for them to stop.

“If anyone takes the time to observe the speed the drivers are passing the front of the school, it is clear that it is far in excess of the advocated 20mph on the signs near the school.

“Intermittently, the traffic lights fail work with an almost impossible task of navigating across the road for children and their families.”

County and borough councillor Mark Perks said: “Lancashire County Council have identified the need for a different set of lights, but we want them now.

“It’s the speed on the A6. It doesn’t make sense when there’s a crossing attendant at other schools, but none on a busy road like the A6.

“This latest incident bring its home.

“There’s going to be a fatal accident unless they do

something.”

Andrew Burrows, highways manager at Lancashire County Council, said: “We have listened to the views of parents at the school and the local councillor, Mark Perks, and as a result have brought forward plans to upgrade the current pelican crossing outside the school to a puffin crossing.

“A puffin crossing detects the passage of people across the road and allows time for them to reach the other side safely, rather than allocating each crossing a fixed amount of time.

“There are good sight lines for motorists approaching the crossing and they should respect the speed limits and pedestrian crossing lights at all times.”