Crossing safety summit brings in multiple agencies

School mum and road safety campaigner Beth Hadden back in 2018 with Nell the scarecrow, reminding drivers to slow down.

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More than 50 people who responded to a survey about Lochnell school crossing have experienced a near miss.

There were 308 responses to the survey which was presented at a meeting last week of safety campaigners, council officials, road agencies, the school and other organisations, including Sustrans.

Near misses at the A828 crossing point were reported by both pedestrians and motorists. Incidents included reports of ‘reckless speed’, cars overtaking on the crossing, children running across the road, tripping up in the road and being pulled back to safety by adults.

Parent Dr Beth Hadden, who devised the survey, said: ‘We made it clear that the school and the road safety officer have implemented significant educational work with the children and while we will continue to do this, feel we have reached the point whereby structural/engineering solutions to the dangers are essential. This is not something we can implement alone. Transport Scotland and BEAR need to use their resources and expertise to provide us this, and do so timeously.

‘It is disappointing that they do not consider near miss incidents when they look to improve road safety, as these are clearly indicators of impending harm. However, I can only hope their commitment to look into improvements will provide us with some action prior to tragedy meeting one of our families. This is something we will be pushing for and continued strong community support is going to be essential.’

The meeting heard there could be some financial help available from Sustrans and there was mention of police bringing in new technology cameras and speed monitoring devices to help at the crossing, said Ardchattan community councillor Willie Barnett.

Parent and Ardchattan community councillor DJ Barr, whose own son narrowly missed being hit by a car crossing the road, said it was good ‘everyone was singing from the same hymn sheet’.

He added: ‘It was a massive success that we managed to get everyone together from Transport Scotland and BEAR Scotland to all four ward councillors. Everyone pulled together.

Mr Barr also said the volume of responses to the crossing survey showed the strength of feeling that something needs to be done to make it safer.

‘A lot of the comments made frightening reading. It’s rare that people put so much effort into responding to surveys like that so it really shows the strength of feeling,’ he added.

A spokesperson for BEAR Scotland said:  ‘Road safety is a top priority for us and Thursday’s meeting provided a good opportunity to meet the local community alongside other stakeholders and listen to their concerns about road safety. The next steps are for us to carry out an investigation to see if anything could be improved or introduced to reduce vehicle speeds and improve road safety at Lochnell.’

Argyll and Bute councillor Kieron Green said: ‘It was a very positive meeting. There was recognition that there needed to be more done. It’s a matter that is being taken seriously.’