Parents voice fear for safety at school crossing

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Ben Thompson at the Banavie school junction. Picture: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image
Ben Thompson at the Banavie school junction. Picture: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image

RENEWED concerns over the safety of children making their way to a Lochaber school have come to light after ‘near misses’ took place.
Parents and councillors have been campaigning for a crossing outside Banavie Primary School to be installed for some time.
Currently, a lollipop lady helps to ensure children making their way across the A830 are unharmed and she is accompanied by 20mph signs designed to flash at either side of the school day.
However, recent malfunctions in the signage have added to frustration among parents who fear the worst for their kids.
Pamela Donald said she witnessed the lollipop lady almost being knocked over and took to Facebook to raise awareness. She wrote: ‘ONCE AGAIN the flashing 20mph signs for motorists coming from town towards Corpach are not working.
‘I also called into the police station and told them. They are aware of all of the above, but we just need to report all these thing and get it all recorded. The more of us complaining the better. Please share.’
Councillor Ben Thompson shared the post online, explaining that Transport Scotland argued there was not enough foot traffic to justify a pelican crossing. He wrote: ‘That they respond in those terms when it’s child safety we’re talking about makes my blood boil.’
The representative for Caol and Mallaig told The Oban Times last Friday: ‘I was at the parents’ association meeting and I don’t think the incident was the only one recently. Lots more people were coming to me saying they had seen or heard of similar incidents.’
Mr Thompson added: ‘The 20mph signs are, more often than not, not working. While I commend Transport Scotland for trying to make this part of the road safer, I don’t think this will solve the problem. What they want to do is just narrow the road but this is a trunk road and the patroller is still just relying on her PPE [personal protection equipment] to stop moving traffic.
‘I think the best way would be if anyone who needs to can stop the traffic by means of a pelican crossing. This would give the direct benefit of immediately increasing safety but also the indirect benefit of perceived safety. It would encourage parents to think, “I don’t need to drive my child to school” because the child or children have a safe means of crossing the road.’
A spokesperson from Transport Scotland confirmed that, outwith school hours, there was insufficient demand to warrant a signalised crossing at this location and added: ‘We want to narrow the road at the existing crossing patroller crossing to reduce vehicle speeds and the time it takes to cross from one side of the road to the other.  This will make it easier and safer for those wishing to cross.
‘Following the useful feedback from the meeting, we will work on the designs of these safety measures and, once completed, will carry out further consultation with all parties before any construction begins.’