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Passing a School - Cars Stopping Rant!

Small FishSmall Fish Posts: 84
edited June 2007 in Commuting chat
Every morning sometime between 0900 and 0915 I pass a primary school (St Philips on Stretford Rd in Manchester if anyone's interested!) and every morning my safety is compromised by ignorant parents in their cars stopping outside the school.

I regularly experience every imaginable stupid dangerous manoeuvre... pulling out in front of me, cutting in front, doors opening, parents pushing push chairs into my path from between parked cars...
(All this even though they should have all been at school 10 minutes before I pass, plus there's double yellow lines, school zig zags, and a cycle lane outside...)

I usually take primary position and go past scowling, but often the flow of traffic prevents me and I'm forced into the danger zone between traffic and ignorant parked up *****.

It is not the kind of area where reasoning or yelling would help. I fantasise about carryng a hammer and taking out all their wing mirrors but someone would chase after me and beat me up... I'm happy to write letters but not sure who best to write to. The only other thing I can think of is getting an Air Zound horn and blasting as I pass by each day, which might provide short term satisfaction but I'm not sure it would actually lessen the problem in the long term...

What could/should I do to??
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  • bonjbonj Posts: 2,242
    go order that airzound. I can think of nothing more satisfying than using it on school run mums. 10 bonus points if you make one jump out of her skin and it causes a mum-shaped dent in an X5.

    These are our cars. They drive down our streets. But the psycherlist is waiting...
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    Support the MBA.
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  • perhaps write to the school, point out that its dangerous for cyclists, other road users and children, emphasis on the children

    they may side with you and run a memo to parents to please not park outside the school for dropping off purpouses

    they may also be able to take it higher if they feel its a problem.
  • Mister PaulMister Paul Posts: 719
    Write a polite letter to the school. They're not responsible for the parents' actions, and you'll probably find they're as frustrated as you.

    And remember that neither are the children responsible. So letting off steam verbally or with an airzound isn't likely to help, nor will it endear the kids to cyclists.

    Frustrating it may be, but you still have a duty to go carefully where you know that there are children around.


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  • derosaderosa Posts: 2,819
    quote:Originally posted by Small Fish


    Every morning sometime between 0900 and 0915 I pass a primary school (St Philips on Stretford Rd in Manchester if anyone's interested!) and every morning my safety is compromised by ignorant parents in their cars stopping outside the school.

    I regularly experience every imaginable stupid dangerous manoeuvre... pulling out in front of me, cutting in front, doors opening, parents pushing push chairs into my path from between parked cars...
    (All this even though they should have all been at school 10 minutes before I pass, plus there's double yellow lines, school zig zags, and a cycle lane outside...)



    Par for the course I'm afraid. I experience the same thing every morning passing a secondary school. Nowt you can do about it - motorists view cycle lanes as handy car parks.

    Big H

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    Big H

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  • graham_ggraham_g Posts: 651
    Write to the school and the council - ask if they have a school travel plan in place (it will soon be a statutory requirement) and if there is a problem with lack of enforcement of zig zags and dbl yellows etc. leading to safety issues then road safety team at the council and/or the local police.
  • urbanfatboyurbanfatboy Posts: 193
    Take a road which doesn't go past the school. or go at a different time.
  • ChrisKHChrisKH Posts: 1,717
    Despite being a parent of two school going boys, this behaviour infuriates me as much as you. If we do drive to school, then we leave plenty of time, park legally some distance away and walk with due care and attention. Unfortunately it's the usual offenders at the school who park on double yellows, zig zags etc. After all, their children couldn't possibly walk a 100 metres you know; they might get molested.

    On the other side of the coin, if you buy a house within a short distance of a school there is a caveat that applies; people will park their cars, legally, outside your house. One such jobsworth moves his car across the road to ensure no one will park opposite his drive (the temerity of it!) at the beginning and end of every school day. Which is pretty sad.



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  • paulo.mcpaulo.mc Posts: 51
    I live right by my daughter's school, so its just a short walk to drop her off then down the hill to the station on the bike. The school run is one of my favourite ranting topics. You can get limited results by raising it with the school, but its hard work and does need a sympatheic head.

    My littln's school have been as responsible as they can be. They started by devoting a good chunk of the regular school newsletter devoted to requests not to block residents' drives, park legally, keep speeds sensible, stay aware and not enter the school grounds, for insurance reasons apparently. These didn't do much, because most cager parents could find a good reason why the requests didn't apply to them. Next the school and residents talked to the City Parking Office. We now get a parking warden a few times a month to stop the worst of the dangerous parking, but if the warden isn't there, the parking reverts back to 'normal'. The school has now started a 'working group' of residents and parents to come up with some longer-term ideas to reduce the problem.

    Although all this effort by the school is great, unless they change the mentality of the people who automatically jump in the car for any journey, I know the results will be limited.

    This doubly hacks me off because the area near the school has been the centre of the most high-profile phone-mast protest in the country. Over the past couple of years we've had regular marches with kids holding placards about the risks to their health. Try the same thing pointing out the risks introduced by our local school run (one kid knocked over a few years ago, regular near misses) and you draw a blank.

    Finally, a little story to highlight attitudes. One of the most dangerous points during the school run is a T-junction just before the school. Many drivers reach this junction along the top of the 'T' and start to turn right to find a parking space as close as possible to the school. They see that all the parking is taken, so either attempt to pull a U-turn or three-point-turn to go back the way they came in search of a space. The pavements on this junction are usually full of kids walking to school. During this manoeuvre, its common for the front or back of the car to overlap the pavement, or sometimes fully mount the pavement. A few weeks ago, I saw a mother b0ll0cking her son for not watching where he was going. The child had been on the pavement when somebody three-pointed at the junction and their boot had overlapped the pavement and nearly hit him. Who's fault?!

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  • knuckleheadknucklehead Posts: 243
    Do a Victor Meldrew and write to the local council and ask they enforce the traffic legislation outside the school at the times in question for safety reasons. CC this to the school head and the local police superintendent marked for their necessary attention.

    Resend it every month thereafter making it clear that you expect a reply as to why your first letter was ignored and what actions they are taking to address the problem.

    Put in an FOI request after 6 months questioning action taken to address the problem raised in your correspondence and all further follow-up taken after receiving it.

    Send the results of the FOI and copies of your letters to the opposition councillor for your area requesting the issue of non action be raised at councillor level at the local transport planning meeting with the majority party as it is an issue of poor road management.

    You will eventually irritate them into action. Persistence is key.
    _______________________________________________________________________
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  • One of the local schools near me, which is always blocked on the school run, used to have a gap in the railings for people to cross, but all the Merc, BMs & 4x4 drivers used to frequently park in this gap, thereby blocking the road crossing entirely. Some of them even used to drive through the gap and park on the pavement. Now there are traffic lights so that particular problem is solved.

    I have also seen a school near West Acton, where certain parents/staff hold out repeat offenders number plates on a piece of cardboard to hopefully embarrass the people involved.

    Try walking past the school one day with a camera phone, and pretend to take pictures of the offenders cars and see what they do.

    http://lifeonthetube.blogspot.com/
  • bonjbonj Posts: 2,242
    why pretend? why not actually take photos of them?

    These are our cars. They drive down our streets. But the psycherlist is waiting...
    Support the MBA.
    Claim back your illegal bank charges - DO IT, IT WORKS!

    These are our cars. They drive down our streets. But the psycherlist is waiting...
    Support the MBA.
    Claim back your illegal bank charges - DO IT, IT WORKS!

  • The LunchThe Lunch Posts: 21
    You need a "co-ordinated attack". You write to the Head Teacher describing the dangerous driving/parking and saying it's only a matter of time before a child is injured. You then send a copy to the council's traffic department complaining about the illegal parking/irresponsible driving and asking them to do something about it. They'll send traffic wardens looking for revenue opportunities.

    If you're particularly vindictive, you find an opposition councillor on the Education Committee and write asking whether they support the council's policy of apparently ignoring the danger outside schools.

    The net result is that people get worried that, if they do nothing, they might be held responsible so they start writing memos and cajoling each other to take action.

    You write as a parent or concerned neighbour, not as a cyclist (which implies a separate agenda).

    The alternative is to use a baby elephant, I suspect.
  • rothbookrothbook Posts: 943
    Brilliant stuff The Lunch.
  • DavidTQDavidTQ Posts: 943
    At my kids school they now have a community police officer there every single morning who makes sure no parents are parking dangerously, it might take up resources, but its made the school gates a far less dangerous place. Particularly at this school as the gates open right onto the road with no pavement out side (its a narrow alley of a road) It wasnt a dangerous layout as such because casual motorists had no desire to use the road which went nowhere, however it was the school runners who made it very dangerous.
  • mmoommoo Posts: 142
    quote:Originally posted by Small Fish
    I fantasise about carryng a hammer...

    What could/should I do to??


    I have a similar problem on the other Stretford Road with cars parking all over the lines near a crossing which puts me and their children at risk, I'm thinking of either getting some stickers printed for this or maybe a few flyers.

    As for the hammer - I've started playing bike polo and love carting a metre long mallet around [:)] (practice tomorrow 6pm Platt Fields if you are interested, all welcome)


    /\/\/\/\00
    TrafficParticle

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    TrafficParticle
  • Small FishSmall Fish Posts: 84
    Very useful - and good to know i'm not alone! I've been passing this spot for years with the same dangers so I have got to the point where i'm prepared to stick my head over the parapet.
    I've drafted a letter to the school - based on what I wrote above but very polite and with more emphasis on road safety and child safety. I will also adapt it to the traffic dept.

    I like the idea of taking photos but it is not a yummy mummy in an X5 kind of area, more chav mums in puntos and novas, unroadworthy looking japanese people carriers and big scary violent looking blokes in old BMWs... and I worry that these are people who would not react well to a jumped up cyclist pointing a camera them.

    Anyway I'll give it a go - though not completely convinced that anything would work on these people - at the school my children go to there's a traffic warden outside most days and people still stop right under his nose because they know that they can drop the kids off and get going again before he has time to write a ticket and stick it on them.
  • squiredcpsquiredcp Posts: 964
    Not being a parent myself it seems to me that parents are extremely selfish, and all they care about is their kid(s). So, what happens outside schools is just part of that. I used to live in a street where the house was directly opposite the entrance to a Primary School. Parents would park over your drive, or quite often in it. I can even remember one occasion where I got home from university early, to find that someone had actually opened the gates to give them access to the drive. If there was a close call all they cared about was their kid(s), and not the person they almost took out.

    Once my brother was cycling along the road and a woman was crossing with her kid. He then charged across the road and ran straight into my brother's back wheel. In this case, my brother didn't get an apology, but the mother did have a go at her child. Having said that, she wasn't English. Had she been I expect he would have no doubt been on the receiving end of some abuse.
  • Will1985Will1985 Posts: 289
    The community police officer is a good idea...my old primary school now does something similar by asking the kids to be absolutely ready sitting on the left side of the car, then when they get to school a teacher and a caretaker stand by the gate opening the car doors, helping the kids out and watching them go inside...every morning.
    Apparently it has made the dropping off window a lot shorter and reduced the number of late arrivals.
  • Mister PaulMister Paul Posts: 719
    quote:Originally posted by Will1985

    The community police officer is a good idea...my old primary school now does something similar by asking the kids to be absolutely ready sitting on the left side of the car, then when they get to school a teacher and a caretaker stand by the gate opening the car doors, helping the kids out and watching them go inside...every morning.
    Apparently it has made the dropping off window a lot shorter and reduced the number of late arrivals.


    ...and removes another valuable time of interaction between parent and child. They might as well not bother slowing, and get the kid to jump out of a moving car.

    Sheesh, I thought things were getting bad. This may be more efficient, but it's just purely mechanical.

    I know someone who runs a couple of nurseries. Some parents drop the kids off in their nightclothes in the morning, straight out of bed. The children spend all day in the nursery, the carers dress them for bed in the evening, and the parents pick them up in their nightclothes and pop them straight into bed when they get home.

    How convenient for the adults.



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  • Jonathan McpJonathan Mcp Posts: 2,472
    quote:Originally posted by Will1985

    The community police officer is a good idea...my old primary school now does something similar by asking the kids to be absolutely ready sitting on the left side of the car, then when they get to school a teacher and a caretaker stand by the gate opening the car doors, helping the kids out and watching them go inside...every morning.
    Apparently it has made the dropping off window a lot shorter and reduced the number of late arrivals.


    Do the school staff help to unload the bikes from the car when they do cycling proficiency?

    Me & my 6 year old cycle to school when my work schedule allows it, I ride my Ribble, he's on th tag along. We actually leave the house slightly earlier to avoid school congestion, but the trip isn't really any longer than it would be in a cage - when we do drive, I'm fortunate enough that my aged parents live near the school, so I park off road at their house.

    But Josh is getting very good at spotting bad driving & poor parking already, even from the rear seat of our combo, and I'm hoping that this early exposure to traffic will give him a deal more road sense, hopefully not to be undone when he rides to school solo at some point in the future.

    I despair of the "average" school run family - very little need for it for most of the kids involved, it is just a laziness issue. I particularly hate those who misuse school zig zags or even ped crossings as "drop off" zones. They just need a good slap [:D] to get some sense into them.

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  • FlycatcherFlycatcher Posts: 185
    quote:Originally posted by squired

    Not being a parent myself it seems to me that parents are extremely selfish, and all they care about is their kid(s). So, what happens outside schools is just part of that.


    I disagree. They are more interested in themselves and not having to walk 100 metres from their cars into the school. It's the same outside most schools and the zig zag lines are pointless if no one enforces them.

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  • BuggiBuggi Posts: 674
    get all the cyclists you know to picket the school road one morning. all park your bikes where they normally park and tell them your raising awareness.

    Buggi
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  • summerdayssummerdays Posts: 25
    The problem with the zig-zags (at least ours) is that they are advisory rather than enforceable. I see parents drive up to their personally marked out parking spot (that yellow paint), and just beep to get their kids come out of school. Then they stick them in the back of their white van - no seats let alone seat-belts. Parent doesn't even have to leave the van.
    And yes come the cycling profiency/bikeability they then drop the kid and bike off to school - but then they do have to get out to help get the bike out - so it gives them a little exercise.
    One kid regularly gets dropped off litterally in the car park entrance every day, back in Feb the car broke down and for a month they cycled the kid to school every day and SHE loved it - car is now fixed!!!
  • BentMikeyBentMikey Posts: 4,895
    LOL, my first thought was an airzound too, but lots of other good suggestions. I would never allow myself to be forced out of the middle of the lane going past this sort of situation. Make the cars behind you wait, it's your safety, and this is extremely high risk for a dooring or other collision.

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  • I forgot to suggest emailing your local MP, I emailed my councillors (no reply) and the local MP, who wrote back a nice letter with a copy to the local Chief Constable. For the next fortnight the CPO's were around.

    http://lifeonthetube.blogspot.com/
  • I live in a village. Same nightmare. What really pees me off is that all the kids are from the village, yet those foolhardy enough to walk have to literally sprint across the road to get to the school gates safely - often tugging granny behind them.

    The school has walk to school weeks when, apparently, parents park round the corner and shoo the kids out. I've always known it's bad there, but I've been getting weekly blood tests at the GP just beyond the school. I've started trying to book appointments out of rish hours... but then you get the 4x4 parents coming to pick the fat kids up to take them home for lunch!
    No chain, no gain
  • ransosransos Posts: 380
    Reminds me of an incident last year when a kindly parent (who was double parked outside the school) opened her car door right in front of me as I was passing. Now experience has taught me to leave a sufficient gap, and this is the only reason I wasn't knocked off. After pointing out (without expletives) her error, her response was "don't stress".

    Unbelievable.
  • jonathan ellisjonathan ellis Posts: 3,870
    Our local school has tried and tried to get parents not to block the school and all house along the way
    they and the council have now gained permission to use a "stop and shop" car park for free between 08.45 - 09.15
    and 15.15 - 15.45
    this was reported in the school newsletter and backed up by 4 parking wardens two special constables and a regular bobby for a week (last week)
  • Mister PaulMister Paul Posts: 719
    Ooh, I fogot about this. I was coming out of our school last week, with my 5-year-old beside me on his bike. There is a woman who is heavily pregnant and parks in the disabled spot down the school drive.

    Anyway, boy had cycled up the drive, and was standing astride his bike at the edge of the pavement, with me beside him with younger boy in the pushchair. We're waiting to cross, and aiming for the dropped kerb on the opposite pavement. And waiting for a gap in the traffic. Cars parked both sides (on zigzags), and cars waiting at either end of the row deciding who should let who through the remaining road space, only wide enough for one car.

    The idiot pregnant woman comes up the drive behind us. After a few seconds she gets fed up of waiting and starts edging towards the boy's back wheel. He gets nervous at this and starts moving forward himself, into the road. I reassure him that he can wait on the pavement, preggers disagrees and carries on edging. I tell him to keep still, she keeps edging. It took a firm shout from me to her and some dignified sign language before she would stop moving, and just wait.

    It staggers me that these people are so incredibly stupid and inconsiderate. How they manage to get their kids to school age alive is beyond me.

    __________________________________________________________
    Road Sweeping Expert
    __________________________________________________________
    What we need is a new, national White Bicycle Plan
  • I too wonder how they think the kid is going to be received at school after mum has killed a class mate. For us they get points, but running down children really is beyond the pale.
    No chain, no gain
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