As local schools return after the summer break, the Garda and Mayo County Council are embarking on a campaign of education and enforcement to reduce problems caused by inconsiderate parking near to school entrances.
The initiative is designed to raise awareness of the serious problems that obstructive parking and congestion are causing on a daily basis in reducing visibility for children crossing the road. Many local schools suffer from the problem of thoughtless drivers who opt to use restricted zones when dropping off and collecting children. The campaign involves road safety advice leaflets posted to parents to parents with school book lists to ask them to park safely and for students to walk or cycle to school where possible.
Between 1996 and 2000, 5,928 children were killed or injured on Irish roads. Mayo County Council wants to cut these accident rates by stopping vehicles from parking on keep clear signs, zig zag markings, footpaths, and other illegal places that create ‘danger spots’ for young people and other pedestrians.
Noel Gibbons, road safety officer, Mayo County Council, said: “Many local schools and residents are suffering with these parking problems and we’re asking motorists to be more mindful when parking even for a short period of time. These set down areas are outside our schools for a very good reason. They’re there to keep pupils safe by creating a sight line that enables them to see and be seen before crossing the road. The majority of drivers do take notice of these markings and behave responsibly – but there is also a persistent and thoughtless minority who ignore these restrictions for their own selfish convenience.”
Garda sergeant Martin Murphy, Divisional Traffic Corps, Castlebar, added: “There is legislation in place and the penalty for parking in a cycle lane is one penalty point and a €60 fine. On conviction in a court, it's three penalty points and a €90 fine.”