Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

School bike racks destroyed by speeding, out-of-control motorist, as pupils and teachers stage protest demanding introduction of 20mph limit

Since September there have been three crashes involving drivers outside the school, prompting the headteacher to ask, “How long is it going to take to make the road safe?”

Pupils and teachers at a primary school located on a road where three speeding motorists have crashed in the space of three months – one colliding with and flattening the school’s bike racks – have staged a protest calling on the council to introduce a 20mph speed limit and traffic-calming measures on the road, before a child “gets seriously injured”.

Barton Park Primary School opened in September 2020 as part of a new 885-home development and is located between Headington and Marston, about three miles outside Oxford city centre.

However, due to legal issues related to land ownership, Barton Fields Road, on which the school is situated, has not yet been adapted as part of Oxfordshire County Council’s city-wide 20mph “transformation programme”, which aims to roll out lower default speed limits in built-up areas where there is local support – despite a 20mph limit being implemented elsewhere in the Barton Park development in August.

And since September, three speeding motorists have been involved in collisions on the road, two of which have occurred directly outside the school’s gates. One of the incidents, which took place on 6 October, saw a driver crash into a houseowner’s stationary vehicle, prompting the police to launch an investigation into dangerous driving. A separate crash also saw motorist collide with a brick wall opposite the school.

Driver crashes into wall outside primary school in Oxford (Danny Yee)

(Credit: Danny Yee)

And in a third incident, the school’s CCTV footage captured a motorist crashing into and destroying many of the children’s bicycle racks.

> Safety concerns after cyclist collision at notorious roundabout, as cycling campaigner remains in hospital after separate incident

On Tuesday, the school’s pupils and teachers staged a protest urging the council to take action, with the children brandishing signs reading “20 is plenty” and “keep our roads safe”, while chanting “Our school is a safe place, don’t use it for your race”, the Oxford Mail reports.

The school’s headteacher Bryony McCraw also called on Oxfordshire County Council to install a 20mph limit on the road which could be enforced by police, as well as speed cameras, speed bumps, and a safe road crossing, with a petition demanding such measures reaching over 150 signatures so far.

“My question to the council is: ‘How long is it going to take to adopt the road and make it safe?’,” McCraw said.

“Is it going to take until all the houses have gone up or a child is seriously injured? The parents are really worried about it. The parents came to me at the beginning of the year and said, ‘what can we do to move this forward?’”

> Children take to the barricades to save School Street

The headteacher continued: “I think it’s really serious. There was that awful story back in the summer about the child that was tragically killed within their own school grounds in Wimbledon when a car mounted the kerb.

“I can see that happening here. People might say the speeding happens after school hours, but the children play outside.

“It would be too easy to bash into a child. At the very least we should get signs up really quickly.”

Meanwhile, one local described the road layout as a “bus route, rather than as somewhere eight-year-old kids can safely cycle mixed with motor traffic”.

> Lorry driver denies causing death of cyclist who was killed while riding in bus lane

One of the protesters, year four pupil Tayo, also told the local paper: “I think it is important to stop people speeding past our school, because one day one person might be playing outside or crossing the road and someone could get hit by a car speeding past.”

Nine-year-old Saffiya concurred: “As we start to go into year six, some of us might start walking to school on our own and if speeding is still happening someone could get really injured.”

Responding to the concerns, a spokesperson for Oxfordshire County Council said: “The legal agreement for the adoption of the road outside the school is being held up by land ownership issues. We are working hard to resolve it, but it involves several parties, so it is taking some time. We cannot adopt the road without a Highways Act legal agreement being in place.

“Oxfordshire County Council cannot carry out speed enforcement, this can only be done by the police.

“We are asking the developer to install repeater signs, so that Thames Valley Police can legally carry out enforcement. The road has been designed with a 20mph limit in mind.”

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

Add new comment

35 comments

Avatar
Stephankernow | 7 months ago
2 likes

I live within 500 yards of a primary school and a nursery and by far the worst speeding and parking in the area is by the parents of said children.
A chicane by the school could help?

Avatar
Starsk | 7 months ago
2 likes

Sounds more like a failure of the road layout than anything else. Pedestrianised areas over a kerb generally stop that. I'm not seeing reduced speed limits preventing that as that relies on others obeying that speed limit. If drivers are already ignoring the speed limit then reducing it doesn't make a blind bit of difference, it just means that the problem drivers will be even higher over it. There have to be consequences before drivers like that will notice.

It's like when they lowered the drink drive limit in Scotland. The really dangerous drivers were the ones who were blowing twice the limit. Now they blow three times the limit. Does it stop them? No.

Avatar
wtjs | 8 months ago
1 like

Wow! These bike shop owners from the Netherlands catch on really quickly. One minute it's 'I no speeka da english', the next, they've picked up all the idioms.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to wtjs | 7 months ago
0 likes
wtjs wrote:

Wow! These bike shop owners from the Netherlands catch on really quickly. One minute it's 'I no speeka da english', the next, they've picked up all the idioms.

Road.cc - better than Duolingo!

Avatar
Sriracha | 8 months ago
0 likes

Looking at the street layout on Google Maps I struggle to see how this would be speed related. The school is on the inside of a 90 degree bend, this area is on a straight approach.

The lack of a kerb does not help, any "momentary inattention" by the motorist would not be curbed by a kerb. My suspicion here is that this is mobile phone related...

Avatar
Creakingcrank replied to Sriracha | 7 months ago
0 likes

I wonder if people (maybe even only one person) are using those corners to test their high-speed cornering/drifting skills.

Avatar
momove | 8 months ago
11 likes

"a driver crash into a houseowner’s stationary vehicle, prompting the police to launch an investigation into dangerous driving."

So it needs to be a car that has been hit for the police to consider dangerous driving.

Avatar
wtjs replied to momove | 8 months ago
8 likes

So it needs to be a car that has been hit for the police to consider dangerous driving

Yes! The incident which initiated my despise-despise relationship with Lancashire b*****d Constabulary in pre-Christmas 2018 was me stationary waiting to leave the exit road from Sainsburys onto the main road, when my right shoulder was hit (another 6 inches to his right and he'd have hit my front wheel and smashed the bike back into my pelvis and accoutrements) by his Freelander mirror  when he 'cut the corner'. The police promptly closed the 'investigation' because it was only a momentary loss of concentration and it was dark and raining (my front steady bike light and my flashing helmet light being irrelevant)

Avatar
wtjs | 8 months ago
3 likes

headteacher Bryony McCraw also called on Oxfordshire County Council to install a 20mph limit on the road which could be enforced by police

"What can we do? (police, in a whingeing voice, wringing hands) Everybody does it, and nobody has been hit on this site"

Avatar
Creakingcrank | 8 months ago
9 likes

I find this story really depressing. Looking at Google Street View, the developers have tried to put in various traffic calming measures around this site: two 90 degree corners on the approach, ramps to a raised surface, a surface that looks like a pedestrian area, etc.  Those measures have clearly failed. 

And it's a primary school FFS. Feels like we are long way from Amsterdam right now.

 

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Creakingcrank | 8 months ago
11 likes

Creakingcrank wrote:

I find this story really depressing. Looking at Google Street View, the developers have tried to put in various traffic calming measures around this site: two 90 degree corners on the approach, ramps to a raised surface, a surface that looks like a pedestrian area, etc.  Those measures have clearly failed. 

And it's a primary school FFS. Feels like we are long way from Amsterdam right now.

The answer is obvious - force the parents to buy cycling helmets for the kids and ensure that all children wear them and hi-viz clothing at all times. If it saves one life…

Avatar
Xenophon2 replied to Creakingcrank | 8 months ago
7 likes

What they should do is put some good, non-sloping, anchored, solid reinforced heavy concrete cubes in front of those bike racks.  Let the yobs drive their car into those at speed, see if they'll do it again.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Xenophon2 | 8 months ago
6 likes

Paging the World Bollard Association...

Avatar
Sriracha replied to Xenophon2 | 8 months ago
5 likes

I quite like the solid bell-shaped metal bollards that tend to leave the vehicle stranded atop them.

Avatar
David9694 replied to Sriracha | 8 months ago
0 likes

Bell shaped for a bell end 

Avatar
Xenophon2 replied to Sriracha | 8 months ago
1 like

See, the problem with those is that they don't total the car.  Nothing like a superheavy cube to make that happen.

Avatar
mattw replied to Creakingcrank | 8 months ago
3 likes

The urban design looks a mess - shared space dogmas misapplied.

How are visually impaired people or Guidedog users supposed to navigate *that* safely?

I think the "Not Adopted" thing is a partial red herring. Police can enforce on motoring offences on land normally accessible to the public - which includes eg supermarket car parks. Council Officers may not be able to, however.

How fast was the idiot driving?

Why isn't the child cycle parking actually secure behind the school gates?
 

Avatar
hawkinspeter | 8 months ago
10 likes

I don't think a speed limit is going far enough. Close the road to motorised traffic at drop-off and pick-up times and that should reduce the number of incidents.

Avatar
KDee | 8 months ago
6 likes

I'm pretty sure that here in NL, as soon as you enter a "school zone" the speed limit is reduced to 30kph. 

Avatar
Paul J replied to KDee | 8 months ago
5 likes
KDee wrote:

I'm pretty sure that here in NL, as soon as you enter a "school zone" the speed limit is reduced to 30kph. 

Yep. And the speed limit in built-up areas is a maximum of 50 km/h. Roads with houses will often be no more than 30 km/h. In a "woon erf" (residents space, intended to be safe for kids, with access for vehicles) it's max 15 km/h.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Paul J | 8 months ago
6 likes

Paul J wrote:

In a "woon erf" (residents space, intended to be safe for kids, with access for vehicles) it's max 15 km/h.

15mph?!* With such a slow speed I've heard that this will make things more dangerous.  First drivers will not be looking at the road but desperately trying to stop their vehicle going above the limit (apparently this is a high-workload task).  Second drivers just can't help themselves because some roads have "natural" speed limits of more than x mph**!

* UK freedom units.  Do cars even go less than that?

** Or could it be we're just used to "roads of type x go with y speed, apart from road z where I've learned the police occasionally set up speed traps, the devils".

Avatar
Bigfoz replied to chrisonabike | 8 months ago
0 likes

Not 15mph, 15KMH - 9.4mph. 10mph Gets applied in car parks / around hospital grounds and other areas, why not there?

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Bigfoz | 8 months ago
2 likes

No, I refuse to believe it. That's a bicycle speed*, not a car speed. And I've read in many places that below 30mph it would be impractical to pay attention to anything other than trying to maintain a stable speed...

* except when it's "dangerously fast", or holding everyone up of course...

Avatar
Backladder replied to chrisonabike | 8 months ago
1 like

chrisonatrike wrote:

No, I refuse to believe it. That's a bicycle speed*,

Ha! you've just outed yourself as one of those "I'm a cyclist myself" posters, I'll have you know that it is scientifically impossible to cycle at under 10 mph, anyone who tried would fall off!

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Backladder | 8 months ago
2 likes

Backladder wrote:

chrisonatrike wrote:

No, I refuse to believe it. That's a bicycle speed*,

[...] it is scientifically impossible to cycle at under 10 mph, anyone who tried would fall off!

You got me!  Yes, anything with a gear lower than 90 gear inches is a child's toy.

...wait though - fall off?  Did you check the username?

Avatar
Backladder replied to chrisonabike | 8 months ago
2 likes

chrisonatrike wrote:

Backladder wrote:

chrisonatrike wrote:

No, I refuse to believe it. That's a bicycle speed*,

[...] it is scientifically impossible to cycle at under 10 mph, anyone who tried would fall off!

You got me!  Yes, anything with a gear lower than 90 gear inches is a child's toy.

...wait though - fall off?  Did you check the username?

You said bicycle speed not tricycle speed!

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Backladder | 8 months ago
2 likes

Backladder wrote:

You said bicycle speed not tricycle speed!

It's a fair cop.

Tangentially, I saw this today, for a combined five wheels and 3 people.  It would have stood out even without the inflatable watermelon slice on the front.

Avatar
giff77 replied to Bigfoz | 7 months ago
2 likes

Have yet to see 10mph being observed in car parks. The 5mph one is an even bigger ask. 

Avatar
giff77 replied to chrisonabike | 7 months ago
2 likes

I struggle with this concept that motorists need to constantly look down at their speedo to determine their velocity. It's not that difficult to determine your speed through road noise etc. 

Avatar
levestane replied to giff77 | 7 months ago
3 likes

Limiters have been on cars for years, mine goes down to 19 mph; no excuses.

Pages

Latest Comments