Safety first as new school term begins

As the schools open for the start of a new term, police in Larne are reminding motorists and pedestrians to put safety first in an effort to prevent people being injured on the roads.

Constable Colin Brown, of Larne Neighbourhood Police Team, said road safety was a skill that everyone needed to learn and one that people should put into practice every day.

“As the new term begins this is perhaps a good time to reinforce just how important road safety is,” he added.

“I don’t want to see anyone killed or seriously injured on the roads, and I would like to see a substantial improvement in driving standards across the Larne Borough.

“We all have a part to play and each of us can help to reduce the risk of a collision taking place, and make the ‘school run’ much safer for all concerned.”

Constable Brown said those who walk to school need to know how to cross the road safely, how to use pedestrian crossings, and in the absence of crossing patrols, know how to identify a safe place to cross.

He added: “In rural areas where there are no footpaths, pedestrians should always walk facing the oncoming traffic, should wear something bright, and in conditions of poor light should also wear something reflective, and carry a torch to alert motorists to their presence.

“Children who cycle to school need to be safe and need to be seen. Wearing an approved safety helmet, and a high visibility and reflective jacket, vest or belt should be a priority. The bicycle must be in full working order, and that includes the bell, the lights and reflectors which should be kept clean at all times. For added safety I would ask cyclists to dismount and walk their bikes across busy roads and junctions.

“Parents who drop their children off by car must not park within 20 metres of a junction and must not park in prohibited areas or on zig-zag yellow lines, which must be kept clear at all times.

“Children can sometimes be unpredictable, and can dart across the road without warning to meet up with friends. This is why we continually urge drivers to slow down when approaching schools so they can stop suddenly, and safely if required to do so.”

And the constable said that while the indicated speed limit was the maximum permitted, it might not be the safest speed for the conditions, or to ensure the safety of other road users

He also warned that police patrols would be paying special attention to schools both in the town and in rural locations, and where offences are noted, fixed penalty tickets - which carry three penalty points - would be issued.

“Remember too, that a child struck by a car travelling at 30 mph or slower has a far greater chance of surviving the impact than if struck by a car travelling at 40 mph. So please, put road safety first, and give our children a chance this school year.

“I would also urge parents on the school run to ensure children travelling to school in cars are properly restrained. In a crash at just 30mph, an unrestrained child would be thrown forward with a force 30 to 60 times their body weight.

“This means that they would be thrown about inside the vehicle, injuring them and quite possibly seriously injuring or even killing other passengers. They are also likely to be ejected from the car through one of the windows,” Constable Brown concluded.