Speeding motorists concern

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Lower speed restrictions could soon be enforced outside Geraldine Primary School, following a spate of near-misses on busy State Highway 79.
Each day, children and their caregivers are at risk while crossing the highway, Cox St, which has a 50kmh limit.
Geraldine Primary School principal Andrew Leverton said it was time that limit was reduced to 40kmh at the start and end of the school day, as it had been outside many other South Canterbury schools.
Home and School committee member Fiona Wilcox organises a group of five parents who volunteer their time to help children and their caregivers cross the road safely each day.
‘‘We make sure it’s monitored every morning to make it as safe as possible, especially in winter,’’ she said.
A school staff member monitors the road and assists pedestrians in the afternoon.
Any dangerous driver behaviour witnessed during those times was passed on to Mrs Wilcox or to Mr Leverton.
Many of those concerns have now been passed on to the New Zealand Transport Agency in the hope more could be done to improve the safety of those crossing the road to get to and from the school.
‘‘We just have incidents of people [not] slowing down,’’ Mrs Wilcox said.
‘‘For the most part people are very, very good,’’ she said but did not seem to understand the crossing had to be clear of pedestrians before they could move, or did not realise there was a school beside the crossing.
‘‘So we are doing everything we can to make sure our children are safe, but trying to make sure drivers do their part, as well,’’ she said.
‘‘We feel like we are doing a lot, but we want the community to support that.’’
Mr Leverton said a large tree overhanging the footpath, which could restrict motorists’ view of the pedestrian crossing was trimmed on Friday, in time for the new school term.
Jude Farmer, who regularly walks her children across the busy road, was pleased to know the speed limit could soon be reduced.
She had seen her fair share of dangerous driving in the area, including the driver of a rental car on the wrong side of the road while approaching the crossing.
‘‘I was so shocked. I couldn’t believe what he was doing.’’
Reducing the speed limit past the school to 40kmh would be a good move, she said.
There were flashing electronic signs on both approaches to the school, warning motorists to slow down, but the speed limit had remained at 50kmh.
A spokeswoman for NZTA confirmed it was in discussions with Mr Leverton on lowering the speed limit outside the school.