Schools under siege: Why do we need child-shaped traffic bollards?

child shaped bollards

Our schoolchildren are under siege. Not only are more than 950 schools near roads with harmful levels of illegal pollution, but over 6,000 children were injured on British roads in 2016 – a threat that prompts some schools to resort to barricades against cars. However, a decade after child-shaped safety bollards first appeared outside a school in Leicestershire, they have not swept the country.

child bollards

Designed to prevent drivers from mounting the pavement outside schools, the reason the bollards are not now a common sight outside schools around the country isn’t because motorists – many of whom parents themselves – have stopped speeding,using their mobiles behind the wheel or parking illegally.

Objections to the bollards at the time of their launch were irrational and echoed criticisms of 20mph speed limits on road near schools; namely that drivers would spend so much time looking at their speedometers that they would be distracted and crash. Speaking about the child-shaped bollards, president of the AA, Edmund King said: “As permanent fixtures, their efficacy could be short-lived and may initially cause a distraction for passing drivers who double-take at the figures.”

Few objectors appeared to acknowledge the current situation faced by schools the length and breadth of Britain; drivers routinely park on pavements, zig zag lines and even the zebra crossings outside schools.

When the bollards were installed in Buckinghamshire, Councillor Luisa Sullivan said: “We also have a number of parents who mount the kerb at the school, and these bollards can act as a deterrent to this, maybe that is causing annoyance, but I think that if they make the school area safer they should only be seen as a good thing.”

Clearly the safety of our children as they make their way to school should not rely on steel barricades, however novel their appearance. But until we put the safety of kids above the convenience of cars, the child-shaped bollards are available for sale at

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  1. Tony Williams


    Edmund King. When a Chief Constable suggested that breaking the speed limit by even one mile per hour should lead to prosecution, EK said that would cause drivers to be distracted by checking their speed. Could anyone really believe that obeying the law, or watching out for hazardous situations, is a dangerous activity that drivers shouldn’t be expected to do?

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