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“We needed to act”: Parents set up unofficial guerrilla School Street after several near misses for children cycling on narrow road used as shortcut by motorists

But the local transport councillor criticised the campaigners for “taking the law and road safety into their own hands, effectively blockading a road”

Parents of children attending a primary school in Worcester, where children riding their bikes have been put in danger by motorists using a narrow, nearby lane as a shortcut, have established their own guerilla School Street by blocking both ends of the road at school pick-up times, in response to the “horrendous” road safety conditions in the area.

However, the local county council’s cabinet member for transport has criticised the parents’ unofficial actions, which he claims has seen them take “the law and road safety into their own hands, effectively blockading a road without a permit and without permission”.

Road safety issues have long been a source of frustration and concern for teachers and parents at St George’s Roman Catholic, a small primary school in Worcester. Tucked away, as one parent tells road.cc, on the corner “where a narrower road meets an even narrower lane”, the school has been the sight of numerous near misses involving motorists and children cycling and walking to school.

“There is no room for a pavement, pedestrians and bikes have to squeeze along the side wall to make way for a car, it’s even worse when a van passes,” Isabelle, a resident who has walked her children to school for many years along Thorneloe Walk, the scene of most of the road safety issues, and a volunteer with the school’s Bike Bus, tells road.cc.

“Vehicles reaching the corner of the Walk have to perform a three (or more) point manoeuvre there, which is also the main entrance to school for children on foot/bike/scooters. You can imagine the mayhem at school times!

“The brick wall opposite the school gate has been knocked down twice, and temporary boarding now makes the corner even narrower.”

> Student cycling to school knocked off bike after being hit by parent driving a car, suffers minor injuries

Isabelle says that there have been several attempts by the school to address the safety issues over the past decade, including weekly ‘bike to school’ initiatives, warnings to parents not to use Thorneloe Walk if travelling by car, and attempts to monitor parking and driving in the area by the council.

An attempt in 2020 to set up a School Street, an initiative adopted throughout Great Britain in recent years which restricts the use of motor vehicles outside schools at drop-off and pick-up times, applying to both school and through traffic, was met with a lacklustre response from Worcestershire County Council, which Isabelle says left parents “completely discouraged”.

> Councils across England ignoring government advice to roll out School Streets

After the brick wall on the lane was knocked down again last November, a petition to install bollards or create a School Street received over 200 signatures within a week – only for the petitioners to be told by the council that their expectations were “unrealistic”.

The issue again came to a head last week, when the closure of a main road next to the school, due to a burst water pipe, prompted many drivers to begin using Thorneloe Walk as a short cut.

“Within hours, the traffic through Thorneloe Walk, which is normally bad, became horrendous,” Isabelle, who posted a video on Twitter of the chaotic traffic situation as the Bike Bus attempted to make it to school, says.

“Lorries tried to squeeze through, then had to reverse, cars came head to head from both ends of the walk. All of this in the midst of children.

“It became evidence for us – the county council has not helped the community for over 10 years, the likelihood of an accident was at that point higher than ever. We needed to act and make our voices heard!”

On Monday, several parents, clad in hi-vis jackets, set up their own School Street on the lane, to allow their children to walk and cycle to and from school safely.

“It is quite simple to set up: you need a barrier, cones, people, hi-vis, a clipboard for that official look, some leaflets to explain your action and school streets principles, and a smiley face,” Isabelle says.

“We are lucky to have had support from our local city councillors and from Bike Worcester, which is a pressure group promoting active travel within the city.”

She continues: “The amount of positive feedback has been overwhelming. Parents and residents are thanking us every day for taking a stand. I was particularly touched by parents standing in solidarity with us and sharing their horror story of seeing their child nearly run over by the school.”

The parent’s action, the necessity of which was underlined yesterday morning when a lorry driver crashed into a wall on Thorneloe Road, adjacent to the makeshift School Street, has garnered support from several local politicians, including Green Party city councillor Karen Lewing.

“School Streets are popping up around the country, but the county council does not yet have a policy. They say they are working on one but they’re not working as fast as we would like,” she said this week.

The initiative was also praised on Twitter by broadcaster and cycling campaigner Jeremy Vine, who said that “we need to move away from the idea that people who own large metal boxes get priority over the rest of us just because they have an accelerator pedal. It’s nuts.”

> Mum compares school run to “going into battle” as Sustrans calls for School Streets to be introduced in Northern Ireland

However, not everyone is fully behind the unofficial School Street.

Councillor Mike Rouse, cabinet member with responsibility for Highways and Transport at Worcestershire County Council, criticised the parents and residents for taking matters into their own hands.

“I cannot condone campaigners taking the law and road safety into their own hands, effectively blockading a road without a permit and without permission,” he tweeted. “We need to work together to effect change, not force our ideas onto communities without being certain that they’ve consented.”

He continued in a statement: “School Streets and similar initiatives need the support of the school and the local community together in order to become formalised and be successful in the long term.

“School Streets are just one way of encouraging active travel by walking and cycling to and from our schools, we have also achieved this in areas around the county by installing crossing points, and dropping nearby kerbs to allow easier access to do this.

“Where actions like [those at St George’s] have happened elsewhere we see a rise in community tensions, so we call on all those involved to work with us constructively and not to take the law and road safety into their own hands.”

> Children take to the barricades to save School Street

Nevertheless, Isabelle says the success of the makeshift School Street has led to talk that the county council will soon begin to actively promote the initiative, with guidance reportedly being prepared by the Highways department.

“We do hope that the safety of children and their families on the way to school will finally become a priority in Worcestershire,” she says.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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116 comments

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Rich_cb | 8 months ago
3 likes

Is it possible to forget that you have a photographic memory?

Asking for a friend.

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Rendel Harris replied to Rich_cb | 8 months ago
0 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

Is it possible to forget that you have a photographic memory? Asking for a friend.

Most amusing (well by your standards anyway). You can't remember something you haven't seen, I recall Mr Sutton saying that he commutes into central London from a southeastern county, I've never seen anything where he said he's gay. One doesn't always see every single comment someone posts.

Is it possible to be so blinded by one's desperate desire to try to score a point that one overlooks the bleeding obvious? Asking for not a friend.

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Adam Sutton replied to Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
1 like

Do you want some money for that space I seem to be occupying in your head?

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Adam Sutton replied to Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
2 likes

BTW when you were being more reasoned we actually had a discussion about sexuality. Given I have an atrocious memory it was reasonable to assume that may be something you'd recall also.

In terms of point scoring, come on now you were the one trying to brand me a liar and resorting to ad hominem attacks.

I'd expect you'd be acting differently if someone was calling a strange woman "sweetheart" and offering hugs.

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perce | 8 months ago
3 likes

Nice day for a bike ride.

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Adam Sutton replied to perce | 8 months ago
0 likes

Been a bit too windy here, better tomorrow hopefully.

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dolphy | 8 months ago
3 likes

And I really enjoyed the ride through the leafy lanes. We saw some loony lefty cyclists who were not wearing helmets. One of them looked a bit funny so we got our dog Tommy to bite him and then we reported him to our local policeman. Then we went home for some buttered scones with lashings of ginger beer. Yay!

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peted76 | 8 months ago
7 likes

Quite an interesting, seemingly balanced article promted from that catchily titled 2020 study - "Comparison of Lifelong Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Electric Cars with Emissions from Vehicles with Gasoline or Diesel Engines" as quoted by VW - https://www.electrive.com/2020/08/31/study-currently-available-electric-...

There's a lot of green bullsheet we're being fed, mainly by people who make money from us eating said bollocks. EV's are a good thing, a step in the right direction, but I don't think it's enough or a big enough step... If we had a wand and replaced every ICE with an EV tomorrow the grid simply could not cope with it.. apparently 44% of households who have no space for a charger at home.. so the knock on of that is that we to expect everyone to queue up at the local garage to wait for a 30 min fast charge.. What about the costs of EV's.. they are 30% higher than ICE vehicles.. while that might not be the most obvious 'environmental issue' it's a real world issue for most households. No-one likes fossil fuels but we have 150 years of fossil fuel reliance and infrastucture which needs reversing.. and we live in a world which is ruled by global capitalsm, the biggest offenders of which are the ones who gain the most from destroying our planet. Frankly for me keeping 'driving' the best and greenest option is to drive my existing vehicle in to the ground, if we all thought like that then those global capitalist barstewards might not be causing untold issues while raping the lithium, cobalt and other materials out of the congo, chile and god knows where else. We should be saying keep your car for as long as possible and don't feel the need to keep up with the joneses by buying new.

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marmotte27 replied to peted76 | 8 months ago
13 likes

Good comment.

To "We should be saying keep your car for as long as possible", I'd add "and drive it as little as possible."

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Adam Sutton replied to peted76 | 8 months ago
0 likes

I honestly think there is too much focus on cars with respect fossil fuels and emissions, but hey we've seen how that goes down with some on here 🙄

The reality is the grid and power generation are key to bringing emissions down and also in the current political climate, ensuring energy independence.

The pedant didn't like the use of "agnostic" as a descriptor, but the fact is the end user doesn't care how electricity is generated, your kettle, car or whatever works whether the energy was generated by gas, oil, nuclear or renewables.

Like everything demand drives innovation and an interesting development I've seen is organic batteries, that are not dependent on harmful materials.

https://www.cmblu.com/en/technology/

Couple that ability to store renewable energy in a more environmentally friendly storage system, with the concept of small modular reactors and you have a more scalable system to produce clean energy and have less dependency on imports and fossil fuels.

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Rendel Harris replied to Adam Sutton | 8 months ago
3 likes
Adam Sutton wrote:

The pedant didn't like the use of "agnostic" as a descriptor

The pedant didn't like it because it's wrong. Firstly because it takes a word that solely applies to religious belief and shoehorns it into another context (yes I know that computer nerds have co-opted it for apps that work across multiple platforms but that doesn't make it right and they are hardly renowned for their elegant and knowledgable use of language) and also because it implies a degree of consciousness in a non-conscious entity. Asking for language to be used accurately and properly is not pedantry.

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Adam Sutton replied to Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
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No you just didn't want to address the key point that kills your argument. That being in the medium to long term we are shifting towards decarbonisation through various means, rendering the argument that electric vehicles still produce co2 moot when looking long term and not with a anti car agenda.

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Rendel Harris replied to Adam Sutton | 8 months ago
2 likes
Adam Sutton wrote:

No you just didn't want to address the key point that kills your argument. That being in the medium to long term we are shifting towards decarbonisation through various means, rendering the argument that electric vehicles still produce co2 moot.

Are electric vehicles in use now still responsible for CO2 emissions? Will they continue to be responsible for CO2 emissions until the UK's entire power supply comes from nuclear and renewable sources? Yes, and the scenario where this will be the case is at least 30 years in the future. You didn't say that the question will be moot in future, you said it is moot now, which it clearly isn't. I'm afraid simply alleging that you have killed my argument does not actually kill it, only facts can do that and the fact is that electric vehicles will continue to contribute to global warming emissions output for a long time to come, albeit at a considerably lower level than their fossil fuel counterparts.

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Adam Sutton replied to Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
0 likes

It's been clear that my comments unlike yous are looking long term, I've stated that multiple times. I've also stated how in the immediate term the benefit is removing tailpipe emissions, and shifting emmissions to energy generation, which will reduce as technology and generation progresses. None of this should need to be pointed out to anyone with a modicum of common sense and understanding that major changes in something like energy generation don't happen overnight. I await some more shifting goalposts.

Cars are not going. Electricity can and is increasingly being generated cleanly, so EVs make sense. It's not a difficult one to grasp.

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Rendel Harris replied to Adam Sutton | 8 months ago
2 likes
Adam Sutton wrote:

No you just didn't want to address the key point that kills your argument. That being in the medium to long term we are shifting towards decarbonisation through various means, rendering the argument that electric vehicles still produce co2 moot when looking long term and not with a anti car agenda.

(added parts in bold)

How cheap to go back and amend your comment to make it look as if you have already addressed the points that I raised later showing your argument to be wrong. Unfortunately for you it is quite clear when somebody does this because it bumps your comment back to the top of the "newest first" list and also I quoted your original post in full in my reply. The fact that you feel the need to resort to such an underhand tactic says more about the fundamental weakness of your argument then I possibly could.

Electric vehicles are still responsible for CO2 emissions and will most likely continue to be so at least for the remainder of my lifetime, this is a fact. There is nothing anti-car agenda about it, I very much support the adoption of electric cars as a partial solution to the many problems car use creates, however I am not blind to the fact that they will continue to create (albeit lower) emissions and public health and safety issues in the same way their petrol counterparts do now. This is simply a fact and no amount of telling me that you have killed my argument, nor going back to amend what you have already said, can change that.

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Adam Sutton replied to Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
0 likes

Cut it out Rendell. My edit and your response crossed paths. It's obvious that for yourself and particularly Hirsute this is more about cars overall than anything else. Hence being so disingenuous and shifting goal posts when comparing vehicle ownership to anything else. It was purely added to highlight that.

The timing would show that. Just another instance of ad hominem on your part and evidence of weakness and strawmen from yourself.

Heres the facts of my point.

EVs in the immediate term remove emmissions from where they do the most harm. Local community.

Your own comment was that 50% of our power is clean. Highlighting the fact that we are shifting power in general to cleaner sources and therore reducing the overall emmissions of EVs.

It's. That. Fucking. Simple. Those two pieces together render arguments on emmissions moot, pointless, worthless, assuming you are living in the real world and accept cars as transport are here to stay and there isn't a magic wand to wave and come up with an overnight solution.

Edit: (incase you have a hissy fit and are responding as I type)

To quote hirsute "EVs are about sustaining the car industry"

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Rendel Harris replied to Adam Sutton | 8 months ago
3 likes
Adam Sutton wrote:

Cut it out Rendell. My edit and your response crossed paths.

Now now Adam, it's naughty to tell lies. The road.cc setup, as I said, marks the time of a comment as the last time it was edited. My response is marked four hours ago, your edit to make it look as if you'd already addressed my points is marked three hours ago. They did not "cross", you deliberately altered your comment to make it look as if I was raising a redundant point. You're welcome to be rude and aggressive, as indeed you have been, but no need to be dishonest.

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Adam Sutton replied to Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
0 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:
Adam Sutton wrote:

Cut it out Rendell. My edit and your response crossed paths.

Now now Adam, it's naughty to tell lies. The road.cc setup, as I said, marks the time of a comment as the last time it was edited. My response is marked four hours ago, your edit to make it look as if you'd already addressed my points is marked three hours ago. They did not "cross", you deliberately altered your comment to make it look as if I was raising a redundant point. You're welcome to be rude and aggressive, as indeed you have been, but no need to be dishonest.

Like it or not, I am not being dishonest in the slightest. I didn't see your response until I had edited. That is a fact. You know how caching of pages works on browsers, particularly on phones? I literally went back to the page and hit edit, not thinking you would have been so keen to respond.

What is laughable is that you think that such a tiny edit, makes such a fundamental change that it gives you some kind of moral high ground. It's pretty petty and pathetic really. 

<fyi - edited a spelling mistake - hope that is acceptable >

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Adam Sutton replied to Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
0 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:
Adam Sutton wrote:

Cut it out Rendell. My edit and your response crossed paths.

 You're welcome to be rude and aggressive, as indeed you have been, but no need to be dishonest.

BTW that one is actually pretty hilarous. I didn't realise you were so sensitive as to believe my responses to the disengenous nature of yours and others responses at times here, would be construed as such, but there you go. If attacking the character rather than the arguement is what works for you, it says more about you than me.

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Rendel Harris replied to Adam Sutton | 8 months ago
2 likes
Adam Sutton wrote:

If attacking the character rather than the arguement is what works for you, it says more about you than me.

I can't be bothered to argue with you any more sweetheart, if the best you've got is editing your posts in retrospect to make yourself look right well, good luck to you. Can I please just ask you though, as it's causing me considerable pain because you've done it five times now which removes the possibility of it being a typo, to stop writing "arguement"? It's argument.

It's also disingenuous not "disengenous" but let's not try to run before we can walk.

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Adam Sutton replied to Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
0 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:
Adam Sutton wrote:

If attacking the character rather than the arguement is what works for you, it says more about you than me.

I can't be bothered to argue with you any more sweetheart, if the best you've got is editing your posts in retrospect to make yourself look right well, good luck to you. Can I please just ask you though, as it's causing me considerable pain because you've done it five times now which removes the possibility of it being a typo, to stop writing "arguement"? It's argument.

It's also disingenuous not "disengenous" but let's not try to run before we can walk.

How utterly pathetic, again this says far more about you than myself, or anything I have posted. None of which has been edited in retrospect to make me look right. I've posted opinion, you don't like it and now you're having a tantrum, resorting to insult. Grow up you sad individual.

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Rendel Harris replied to Adam Sutton | 8 months ago
2 likes
Adam Sutton wrote:

 How utterly pathetic, again this says far more about you than myself, or anything I have posted. None of which has been edited in retrospect to make me look right. I've posted opinion, you don't like it and now you're having a tantrum, resorting to insult. Grow up you sad individual.

Amusingly it appears to be you who's having the tantrum sweetie, I've just asked you to correct your spelling. Hugs x

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Adam Sutton replied to Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
2 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:
Adam Sutton wrote:

 How utterly pathetic, again this says far more about you than myself, or anything I have posted. None of which has been edited in retrospect to make me look right. I've posted opinion, you don't like it and now you're having a tantrum, resorting to insult. Grow up you sad individual.

Amsuingly it appears to be you who's having the tantrum sweetie, I've just asked you to correct your spelling. Hugs x

I won't bother. Don't want some precious little individual to think I'm retrospectively changing things.

EDIT: one thing I will say looking at this as you spiral into insults, is that as a gay man (something I'm sure you're aware of form past interaction). Offering hugs, kisses and calling me sweetheart is somewhat more than just childish insult and borderline homophobia. Nicely done.

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Rendel Harris replied to Adam Sutton | 8 months ago
2 likes
Adam Sutton wrote:

EDIT: one thing I will say looking at this as you spiral into insults, is that as a gay man (something I'm sure you're aware of form past interaction). Offering hugs, kisses and calling me sweetheart is somewhat more than just childish insult and borderline homophobia. Nicely done.

Goodness me, you are getting desperate now, aren't you? I used the term sweetheart because that is how I would address the spoiled brat having a tantrum that you so closely resemble. I didn't know you are a gay man and it's a matter of complete indifference to me whether you are or not. Oddly enough I have more important things in life to remember than the sexuality of rude and aggressive strangers on the internet. 

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Adam Sutton replied to Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
1 like

Given that you remember where I work I would assume you would remember, guess it fits to ignore that.

Aggression. Have a world with yourself will you. Goodness you poor snowflake.

Let's summarise this shit show.

1) I offered an opinion that focussing on vehicle emmissions when manufacturers are committed to zero emissions vehicles isn't worthwhile.

You then fixated on the fact that electricity generation is still dependent on fossil fuel. Though you yourself stated 50% is renewable. When responding that the long term picture is we are moving away from fossil fuels you then claimed I was claiming nuclear was THE answer. Not true. I also repeatedly said my view was long term, and separately in response to someone else pointed out the immediate benefit from EVs of reducing tailpipe emmissions.

2) Separate to this Hirsute began to focus on costs of motoring finance to which you joined in. Along with claiming EVs just allow manufacturers to survive. This is where goalposts shift multiple times. The assumption being motorists are financing beyond their means. I gave an example of the fiat 500E, but the goalposts shift despite this being one of the most popular city cars.

I the compare public transport costs giving a real world example of my costs. Again you shift the goalposts, seemingly a 30 mile commute by train isn't the norm. Actually what I missed and will state now, is no my commute isn't the norm for many. I have three metro lines from where I now cycle to, as well as HS1. Most people have one station and line and a less ability to complete a journey, meaning more car reliance.

3) The above points lead me to back track and edit a comment simply adding that my options are more reasoned when not looking with an anti car agenda (something reasonable to assume you and hirsute are driven by from the previous). Hardly changing the context, hence me not giving a thought that you'd already replied, to which I'd missed. The irony being on reflection your own response was so heavily edited itself. Hypocrite.

This you latch onto and begin an agressive ad hominem attack, dropping to attacking me personally, calling me a liar and claiming I have been retrospectively editing comments so I look right. Untrue.

Separate to this I was able to have quite a reasoned and interesting discussion on the future of energy generation with Hawkins. But you persisted with ad hominem laced with passive aggression.

I'm done now, you're true self has shone through and is an unpleasant angry little man who gets personal when someone doesn't agree with his world view 100%.

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mark1a replied to Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
2 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:
Adam Sutton wrote:

 How utterly pathetic, again this says far more about you than myself, or anything I have posted. None of which has been edited in retrospect to make me look right. I've posted opinion, you don't like it and now you're having a tantrum, resorting to insult. Grow up you sad individual.

Amusingly it appears to be you who's having the tantrum sweetie, I've just asked you to correct your spelling. Hugs x

Rendel Harris wrote:

Amsuingly it appears to be you who's having the tantrum sweetie, I've just asked you to correct your spelling. Hugs x

You've corrected your own spelling here. I like the fact that road.cc allow retrospective edits but I stay away from spolling, gramma, typos & bad inglund responses because inevitably, if I did, I'd make one myself. 😁🤪 

 

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Hirsute replied to Adam Sutton | 8 months ago
4 likes

Yep, I stole that from HP.

We do need to reduce car use though and all those 0-2 and 2-5 mile trips.

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hawkinspeter replied to Hirsute | 8 months ago
2 likes
Hirsute wrote:

Yep, I stole that from HP.

We do need to reduce car use though and all those 0-2 and 2-5 mile trips.

I can't remember whom I stole it from

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Adam Sutton replied to Hirsute | 8 months ago
0 likes
Hirsute wrote:

Yep, I stole that from HP.

We do need to reduce car use though and all those 0-2 and 2-5 mile trips.

A totally different matter, but hey-ho. No surprises there.

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Hirsute replied to Adam Sutton | 8 months ago
1 like

Of course, my comments were completely irrelevant to the actual story.
Are you taking over from stfd ?

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