26th March 2018 Rutherglen Reformer article
Recently I went to Loch Primary School in Springhall to see Baldy Bane Theatre. Founded in 1991, they focus on hard hitting issues like bullying, knife crime, internet safety and abuse in teenage relations. They have been commissioned by Road Safety Scotland to deliver a programme on road safety.
Children make choices when walking or cycling to school – peer pressure to go by a quicker but unsafe route, whether to give a friend a lift on your bike, crossing the road using your iPhone, moving to Secondary School. One play starred an agitated Lollipop lady’s problems.
The actors pushed the children to contribute, changing the plays accordingly. By the time the bell went, almost all the children were putting in their ideas – they clearly were able to feel themselves in the shoes of the participants.
Now this was not just a bit of fun. It was intended to change children’s ways of thinking about road safety and help keep them safe. Children are more likely to be injured on the roads than any other age group.
But it is a challenge for parents too.
At Loch, like many schools, there is a congestion problem when parents drop off and pick up their children at school. Lochaber Drive is a cul de sac serving both Loch and St. Anthony’s. As school rolls expand, congestion gets worse. The Council, police and others take action to help but the real answer is many fewer children arriving by car.
Burnside Primary has made a big effort since their school was rebuilt to make the school entrance in Glenlui Avenue safer – far fewer parents now use Glenlui. Consequently the school entrance is pleasanter and safer and it is easier to encourage more children to walk to school.
But we also need to look more closely at safe routes to school –school entrance areas, difficult crossing points like the junction of Rodger Drive and Stonelaw Road, vehicles blocking pavements near schools, traffic speed on school routes, poor pavement surfaces and flooded crossing points.
Wouldn’t it be great if the Year of Young People saved young lives and delivered safer routes to school!