MANIC drop-off and pick-up times outside Barnsley schools’ gates - set to return in a phased approach from next week - has resulted in road safety bosses issuing a plea to parents and carers to think twice to boost safety.
With a new academic year set to begin for many on Thursday and Friday - with some returning the week after - pupils across the borough will be heading back to classrooms after their summer break.
Traffic matters have affected many locations across the borough, with walk-to-school initiatives, regular newsletters, police patrols and even petitions - issued by concerned residents in Darton and Royston - failing to deter motorists from clogging up streets.
It has prompted the South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership (SYSRP) to issue a warning to parents and carers at pick-up and drop-off times.
Joanne Wehrle, manager of SYSRP, said: “Back to school can be a worrying and stressful time for everyone, so don’t let road safety add to that list - the last thing anyone wants is for their loved one to be involved in a collision.
“Walking to school will help contribute to everyone’s daily amount of exercise, reduce congestion and pollution around the school gates.
“If you can’t walk the whole way, park further away from the gates as this will help to reduce the risk of dangers and inconsiderate parking.
“We appreciate that people can be in a rush in a morning and that getting children to school on time can be hard work, but it is extremely important that you don’t park in restricted areas including the keep clear zig-zags or double yellow lines.
“Parked cars outside schools can be a hazard and stopping on the yellow zig-zag lines puts children at risk.
“You could even drop them at a friend’s house or a central meeting point so they can walk in together.
“We want to support parents and carers in thinking ahead and talking to children about their journey to school, to try and minimise the risks.”
Barnsley Council committed to a scheme to assess all schools sited on main roads in the borough to see if 20mph zones could be introduced to slow down traffic.
Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey has been campaigning for local schools to be put under 20mph zones.
John said: “Roads outside schools can get very busy, especially at drop-off and pick-up times.
“Too often we hear about children being knocked down or parents talking about ‘an accident waiting to happen’.
“I’d like people to let me know if they think speed is a particular problem outside their local school.”
Coun James Higginbottom, cabinet member for environment and transport, added: “We will continue to work with local schools to expand the ‘School Streets’ initiative to promote walking, cycling and scooting to school.
“Not only will this improve road safety of our young people, but it will also help to promote active travel and healthier lifestyles for children and families.”