• Search

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.”


The zig-zags are there for a good reason, I'm sick of seeing inconsiderate parents blatantly stopping and offloading or picking up there kids. The laws of driving apply to everyone, but a certain few think otherwise.

I support keeping our children safe, is the camera car in the photo not on or very near the zig zag zone...does this compromise safety? Perhaps Emma needs to brief the drivers on the Council Policy as I would say that car is blocking a clear view for crossing the road.

The School Safety Car would catch even more motorists if it was outside a School at hometime rather than outside Frydays Chippy on Oldham Road, Springhead.

How thick must that Kia driver be, parking right in front of the camera car! I bet most of the inconsiderate drivers only live around the corner as well.

Good, now how about bookings for double parking, parking on pavements, too near a road junction,parking on a bend. Hit these lazy inconsiderate people where it hurts.

Appalling, 65 percent of drivers think parking on zig zags is acceptable!

Hardly any surprise with the industrial scale law breaking everytime I have to suffer using the roads with criminals.

Speeding, driving through red lights, not stopping at amber (check your highway code, it means STOP), on the mobile, double yellow line parking, pavement blocking, raised studs dropped kerb blocking, undertaking.

There should be cameras on each and every zig zag until they STOP DOING IT.

Selfish morons.

One of the great lies whining motorists like to repeat is that speed cameras as "revenue generators"

Perhaps these people can explain why last year West Midlands' 304 fixed cameras ceased operating "because they are too costly to run."

i.e they LOOSE money.

They should make traffic enforcement to BE revenue generators. I'll never have to pay, I don't speed/park illegally/commit road traffic offences so the law breakers can pay for my local services until they learn to stop breaking the law.

Of course the fact that Oldham Council has built such huge, combined schools on sites that cannot cope with them adds nothing to the problem.

Oldham Watcher maybe safety isn't such a priority if cameras are being removed? After all if they aren't there to generate revenue, why place them at all?

I know for a fact that the revenue from these fines is used to fund the activity. So the council does not make a profit from this, it is all about making our roads safer for everybody.

Agree with all above except OldhamWatcher. Undertaking, even on a motorway is not illegal. The reality is that you should not be able to undertake unless the car you are undertaking is illegally lane hogging which carries a fine of £100 and 3 points. Cars have a duty to move to the inside lane when possible except when turning right for which they should indicate.

Highway code specifically states that you "should" not undertake. It does not state that you "must" not undertake.

Looks like safe parking from the camera man. On top of the zig zags, parked facing the wrong way. How embarrassing! Do as l say and not as l do.....quality!

I agree with what everyone says but some do have to drive their kids because of the distance why do they not make enough place for parents to park up you cannot leave primary school children at the gate . Roman rd in Royton is bad I took a friends child there recently knocked down not crossing the rd walking into the school gates as taxis backing into the school entrance to turn round as due to parked cars there is only enough room for one car , one way st would help safety.

Good i am sick of the school run clogging up the roads i don't know how their parents can afford cars sitting at home all day, when i was a kid i either walked or used the bus no wonder their so many obese kids these days.

This is absolutely disgraceful. Don't Oldham Council know that children these days don't know how to walk? It's surely a beach of their human rights not to be driven, preferably in a 4 x 4 with a driver who can barely see over the wheel, any distance greater than that from the sofa to the TV?

While I agree with most of what has been said, when it comes down to enforcement of the majority of the offences mentioned above, unless yellow lines are present the Council's enforcement team are unable to take action, offences like double parking, parking on footways, parking near junctions etc. are all the responsibility of the Police to enforce as they are all cases of obstruction. Unfortunately, the Police face the same cuts as all of us and seem unwilling to prioritise such offences.

My first and only 3 points on my licence were for parking on a zig-zig zone back 30 years ago.
As I was told at the time, the offence is dangerous parking and I have never done it since.
Issue the 3 points and a fine and move on to another school, people will get the message when 9 points are on their licence

I Bet Oldham Watcher thinks that he has never broken at least one law Him or Her Self. I Don`t know anyone who has`nt.

That simply isn't true OldhamWatcher !
They were switched off because the upgrade to digital cost £600K and the council didn't want to fund it. They were not 'loosing money' as you state.
More to the point the accident rate has actually decreased since they were switched off!
There is a proposal to replace them with average speed units opposed by 80% of local people
Swindon turned off its cameras because they were a 'blatant tax on the motorist' which did nothing to improve safety


Have Your Say

Post New Comment


To post a comment you must first Log in.  Don't have an account? Register Now!