Paying the penalty
Date published: 22 May 2014
ALMOST 700 penalties were issued to drivers parking on school zig-zag lines in Oldham last year — the fourth-highest number in the country.
Despite 35 per cent of parents saying the practice is unacceptable, 27 per cent admitted to parking on the lines themselves - and nine out of 10 parents see at least one motorist parking on the lines during school time each week.
Insurance company AXA’s figures show Oldham Council has been running a crackdown on zig-zag parking, its 679 penalties in 2013 massively overshadow the 58 handed out in 2011.
Oldham was fourth in the penalties table behind far bigger Birmingham, Southend and Luton.
Oldham handed out almost double the number of penalties than any other Greater Manchester council — Manchester City and Rochdale issued 130 penalties each, while Bury gave out only 30, the lowest in the city region.
The statistics follow a move by Oldham Council to use a school safety car to catch motorists who break the law and put children’s lives in danger.
The car, which visits Oldham schools in rotation at the start and end of each day and has been operating for 18 months, is equipped with CCTV cameras which record motorists dropping off and picking up children. The footage is analysed to decide who will receive a £70 fixed-penalty notice.
The idea to boost safety measures came from Casey Devine, a pupil at Hey with Zion Primary in Lees, who wrote a letter to the council and to the Chronicle outlining her concerns over parking at her school after she was almost hit by a car when it mounted the kerb.
Between 2006-2011, there were 5,639 collisions within a 500-metre radius of an Oldham school, with 1,347 child and 1,592 other pedestrian casualties resulting.
Emma Alexander, Oldham Council’s executive director for commercial services, said: “Parking on zig-zag lines puts children’s safety at risk and we make no apologies for taking enforcement action against those who park illegally outside our schools.
“Zig-zag lines are there to keep pupils safe by creating a sight line that enables them to see and be seen before crossing the road. We will continue to take a zero-tolerance approach against those who flout the law.”
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