School parking chaos is risking children’s lives

Parking at primary schools in north east Fife is being targeted by police and parking wardens for pupil safety. Cars parked in bus turning area at Lawhead PS St Andrews.
Parking at primary schools in north east Fife is being targeted by police and parking wardens for pupil safety. Cars parked in bus turning area at Lawhead PS St Andrews.

Car chaos around north east Fife schools is being targeted by local police officers to prevent children being seriously injured or even killed.

Working with Fife Council’s parking wardens, the community officers are trying to stamp out the ill-considered parking that poses a danger to schoolchildren.

But if experience at St Andrews Canongate Primary School is typical across the region, it will be a hard-fought battle.

The problem has been long-running and one the school has tried hard to counter. Highlighting the dangers in newsletters and campaigns by pupils have not stopped parents and others parking dangerously.

They welcome the support from the police and wardens but as 11-year-old Iona Wither, speaking on behalf of the school’s four P7 junior road safety officers, said: “The police and traffic warden have helped in the mornings but when they are not here, we have the chaos again.”

Iona continued: “We find that people park in bus stops, on double yellow lines and at the corners, which makes it very difficult to cross safely. They also park in front of driveways.

“We need people to slow down, park in proper spaces and also let their children out on the pavement instead of the road side of the car.”

Community ward Sergeant Pat Turner explained that police officers and parking wardens were touring schools in an effort to tackle the problem.

“This is a joint initiative between Fife division community officers and Fife council parking wardens,” he said, “in an effort to improve road safety for children particularly around local primary schools. There is the added benefit of longer-term driver education which will hopefully pay dividends in the future.”

And he added that advice has been given to a number of drivers and at least one fixed penalty ticket has been issued in relation to parking within a restricted zone.

Susan Keenlyside, Fife Council’s travel planning lead professional, said: “We want to do everything we can to increase pupils’ safety by promoting alternatives to bringing the car to the school gates. The congestion faced by schools come from inconsiderate parking by just a few people and we urge these people to consider the impact they’re having.”