Road Safety Week – The Role of a Lollipop Lady
An article written by The Citizen on the role of a lollipop lady:
After donning my High Vis coat, my cap and my gloves I picked up my stop sign and headed out into the rain.
As part of Road Safety Week I stopped off at Hardwicke Parochial Primary School yesterday to find out how to be a lollipop lady, or man rather.
Despite conditions being grey and drizzly Katrina Cardwell, who has been a stalwart of the crossing for the past six years, showed me the ropes of how to get pupils and their parents from one side of the road to the other safely.
And there’s more to it than you think.
The first thing I realised during my 3pm to 3.30pm shift was the need to be aware at all times. It was imperative to keep an eye out for incoming pupils, while at the same time looking for cars.
Then you have to make eye contact with the drivers, hold the stop sign into the road at a diagonal angle, before entering the road bringing a stop to the traffic.
Sarah Laming, school safety officer at Gloucestershire County Council, trained me up before my stint at the crossing.
She said: “When a patrol is out in the road it is as effective as a red light.
“And when the sign is held into the road beforehand that is the equivalent to the amber light.”
She added: “It is important for a patrol to be positive and thank drivers for waiting.
“Every now and again a driver won’t be happy to wait and they might get abusive but that is very rare.”
Most patrol workers have two shifts, one in the morning for half and hour and then again at the end of the school day, again for 30 minutes.
But for Katrina, it’s much more than just a job.
She said: “I love it. I know all the kids now and we chat every day.
“They always say thank you when they cross.
“It can be a bit of an effort in the cold and wet, but it still has to be done.”
Meanwhile, the theme of this year’s national road safety week-long campaign is Tune Into Road Safety – and acknowledges the fact that the behaviour of drivers between the ages of 17 and 24 is a growing problem on roads across the UK.
Last year almost half of the drivers killed on our roads in the county were under the age of 24 and nearly a third of serious collisions involving young drivers didn’t involve another vehicle.