Road danger

As a driver who uses the Exeter St/Buxton/Upper Hamilton road junction, I am concerned that on a regular basis drivers are being forced to slow down or stop by virtue of children playing football etc in the road.

Apart from the obvious dangers of them causing or being involved in an accident, their manner of playing could well cause damage to local properties and parked cars.

Playing in the road is in fact an offence if it causes annoyance to residents or other road users, created as a bye-law by the local council.

If the problem persists I will be reporting the problem to our neighbourhood policing team and would urge others to do likewise before the inevitable happens. Our local PCSO is Erika Harkness and can be reached on 0845 60 70 999.

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8 Responses to Road danger

  1. Sarah Mchugh says:

    As a driver, cyclist, pedestrian and parent living in Prestonville I find these comments on ‘Road Danger’ quite upsetting. I often see the children playing at the junction mentioned and am always heartened by this: this friendliness to children is, for me, one of the hallmarks of Prestonville. Driving slowly seems a small price to pay for such a community.
    The writer does not seem to appreciate that the real danger to children playing in the street comes from cars travelling too fast, the children themselves are not causing a danger to anyone. Why should they not go about the business of playing football outside their houses, as children have for countless generations, in fact probably from Paleolithic times up until about the 1960s? If it is true that there is danger to property (presumably cars) from the football, surely it is more appropriate to talk to the children concerned about this. Calling the police is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. I would rather see Prestonville trialled as the first HomeZone area in Britain. Anyone else in support of this?

  2. Phillip says:

    I must admit that I disagree with Sarah’s comments, it seems to me that most drivers using the junction do so in a sensible manner, the onus is really with the parents to ensure their children play in a safe and thoughtful manner. I suppose the bottom line is that the road is for vehicles, and should not be used by children as a playground.

    Having said that, if their playing was low key in nature and considerate towards others, I’m sure that nobody would mind. Unfortunately this is not the case, balls are regularly hitting cars, both mobile and stationary. I also understand that footballs have been hitting upstairs windows and roofs, which I personally feel is unacceptable.

    With regards involving the police, given today’s culture this is the safest course of action, and one which the police national internet base recommends.

  3. Sarah Mchugh says:

    I take it, Phillip, that you are not an enthusiast for the HomeZone scheme which levels the roads and pavements in residential areas and deliberately places obstacles in the road to provide pedestrians and cars with equal rights (similar to New Road where the Theatre Royal is).

    Presumably by ‘today’s culture’ you mean the notion that feral youths are roaming in packs and are too frightening for a person to approach. I’m not disputing that scenario does exist, but I haven’t seen anything like it outside the Chimney House. Have you tried talking to them at all? They all seem very nice to me. Also, it’s easy to criticise the young, but I find that it pays to re-examine my own youthful antics. I found myself becoming very annoyed recently by a loud house party which went on late into the night. Before reaching the fuming stage, I managed to remember that the house only has such a party about twice per summer and I behaved in a similar way when I was younger. Children need more guidance from adults about what is acceptable behaviour; they are the responsibility of all of us, not just their parents. That, after all, is how they learn to be considerate. You can probably remember as a child being taken to task for your behaviour by another adult. Calling the police does not foster the sense of community which we should be encouraging.

    Perhaps one of the parents of the children concerned would like to comment?

  4. Phillip says:

    Thanks for your reply Sarah and yes, I would not welcome the introduction of a HomeZone scheme being introduced. Such schemes have there place but I don’t think it would prove beneficial to this area.

    By “today’s culture”, I was referring more to the fact that to approach the children could easily become confrontational, especially if the parents become involved. There is also the risk of being victimised or the subject of pranks if they know where you live. It is for reasons such as this that the police recommend that they deal with such problems.

    Although I have not personally approached the children, I am aware that some of the local residents have asked them to either move on or tone their activities down, only to be ignored. One can only assume that this is on their parents instructions!

    One question springs to mind, why don’t the children restrict their games to the local park which is less than 5 minutes walk away. After all its one of the reasons its there, and gives an environment which is basically safe and causes no nuisance to others.

  5. martinf says:

    It is clearly concerning that children may be in danger, but I am with Sarah. Rather than threatening to report the children to the police ( playing in the streets a crime….ridiculous) we should be encouraging drivers to moderate their speed and behaviour in our area.

  6. marekkohn says:

    Sarah – we will be discussing something similar to the HomeZone idea you mentioned at the PCA meeting on the 23rd. I’ll post a bit more about this in the next couple of days.

  7. Exeter says:

    Thanks Phillip for making a good point. I agree that kids shouldn’t play in the road for their own safety and others peace.

    I’m a parent and motorist/pedestrian living on Exeter Street and am sick and tired of the noise caused by skateboards/footballs in the street. It aslo seems ok to kick footballs against parked cars. With 3 decent parks within 10 minutes walk it all comes down to lazy parenting.

  8. Phillip says:

    Pleased to see that there is someone who agrees with me and is prepared to air their views. It’s a shame that the children and their parents choose to ignore local feelings. I’m sure if the situation was reversed they would be the first to complain.
    This really is a problem in which the PCA should take a stance, but surprisingly no mention was made of it at the last committee meeting. Perhaps they should consider a limited mail drop/article in the next Post, pointing out the safety issues, anti social behaviour, risk of causing damage and the fact that it is illegal.
    The problem does seem to have eased over recent weeks probably due to family holidays, but if it resurfaces I feel that the authorities will need to be involved.

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