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Gainsborough pupils bid for world record march to promote road safety

By Gainsborough Target  |  Posted: June 23, 2012

  • IN LINE: The 120-strong Morton Trentside walking bus leaves the school en route for St Paul's Church.

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MORE than 120 children from a Gainsborough area primary school marched through their village as part of a campaign for safer roads.

The long snaking column made its way from Morton Trentside Primary School and down Crooked Billet Street and into The Front to St Paul's Church – and back.

Teaching assistant Christopher Smithson and teacher Kerry Lambert co-ordinated Wednesday morning's event as part of the UK-wide Giant Walking Bus.

Co-ordinated by Brake, the road safety charity, a number of schools across West Lindsey joined in the protest.

Along the way, they called on drivers to help protect children on foot in their communities by slowing down to 20mph around schools, homes and shops.

"Across the country, more than 120,000 pupils from 600 schools were simultaneously marching for road safety," said Mr Smithson.

"We were saying yes to safe walking, and no to fast traffic.

"And we were trying to beat the Guinness World Record for the largest walking bus, set at 119,697 through the same event in 2009."

Brake revealed new Government statistics showing that each week on East Midlands roads, 10 children are knocked down and hurt while on foot.

But, at the same time, more and more parents are driving their children to school.

So Brake is calling on drivers to help prevent tragedies by making roads safer for children to walk to school.

The charity wants motorists to observe a 20mph limit near schools – even if the speed restriction is 30mph.

It wants motorists to be compassionate and socially responsible – giving time to react and brake in an emergency.

Veteran Morton parish councillor Ron Cawte, 77, turned out to witness the record attempt.

"We all support this action because it's important for drivers to be careful near schools," said Mr Cawte.

"But it's also for people of my own age because we certainly can't cross the road as quickly as we used to."

Julie Townsend is the deputy chief executive of Brake.

"The Giant Walking Bus is all about schools, pupils and communities saying yes to safe walking – because children should be able to walk in their own neighbourhoods without being endangered," she said.

"Too many children suffer because of fast traffic in their area, whether it's stopping them getting out and about and enjoying being a child, or worse, suffering a terrible injury or even being killed.

"But we can do something about this.

"Drivers everywhere can help make roads safer for children by pledging to slow down to 20mph or below around schools, homes and shops.

"They can avoid driving altogether if possible, especially for short journeys.

"It's a simple commitment that can make a huge difference, helping to create safer, greener, more family-friendly communities."

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  • Ian_Heighton  |  June 23 2012, 3:14PM

    We were saying yes to safe walking, and no to fast traffic. Yet all the story and banners seem to be about slowing down drivers and not safe walking! You can walk safely even if traffic is traveling very fast. It's unsafe walking, eg crossing the road when there isn't sufficient space, that causes the problems. If a car and a pedestrian are not in the same place at the same time then they cannot collide.