Clerkenwell pupils hit back against danger cyclists

FED-UP primary school pupils this week staged a protest against cyclists and motorists who are ignoring the rules of a zebra crossing and putting the lives of pedestrians in danger.

Youngsters from Clerkenwell Parochial Church of England School have launched the a campaign to get road users to slow down outside the school in Amwell Street.

More than 20 pupils gathered by the crossing on Tuesday morning and held up letters to form a safety message for commuters travelling down the road – in a protest organised by pupils on the school council.

Penny Kaur-Kingdon, aged 10, chairwoman of the school council, said: “I think this crossing is dangerous. Cyclists and drivers should stop for children. People who have seen our message this morning have stopped so I think it has worked.”

Fellow school council member Brooke Henly, seven, said: “I want to help the people of Islington and make sure they do not get run over.”

Tommy Bagan, nine, added: “Cyclists zoom down this road and don’t even stop for elderly people. They don’t take any notice of the crossing.”

Matt O’Brien, headteacher of the school, said: “We are trying to send a clear message to the community to encourage them to stop. The other morning we spent 20 minutes observing the crossing and it was shocking to see so many adults, mainly cyclists, being so reckless and not considering the safety of young children.”

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Mr O’Brien said a 10-year-old boy was verbally abused by a cyclist at the crossing last Friday. The school has asked Islington Council to provide a lollipop person to manage the crossing.

“The schoolchildren have taken it upon themselves to start this campaign rather than wait for a new lollipop person or for the council to implement traffic calming measures,” said Mr O’Brien.

“This is a long gentle incline all the way from Pentonville Road towards Rosebery Avenue. The temptation to go fast is strong. Another problem is that people turning out of Myddelton Square are immediately on the crossing. We are just in the area of the congestion charge which could explain the high number of cyclists. The school would like to see some traffic humps or a traffic calming measure.”

Mr O’Brien said there would be another protest targeting commuters when the school closed at 3.15pm.

Councillor Paul Smith, Islington Council’s executive member for environment, said: “Nothing is more important than the safety of our local children when they go to school.

“That’s why - even when faced with the largest cut in revenue of any London council. We have already committed to maintain funding for our school crossing patrol staff. In fact, we have recently taken on two new ones.

“Each request for a new school crossing patrol warden is looked at on a site by site basis and we are currently in the process of finalising the assessment of the Amwell Street crossing.

“The council’s road safety team are also working with the Met Police’s Cycle Task Force who recently made a term time visit at our request to stop and advise errant cyclists.”