Last September, Kirstie Warren’s 8 year-old daughter was hit by a car while on her 7-minute walk home from school in Stockbridge. She had stepped out from between parked cars thinking the road was clear.
“It was the phone call that you always dread,” says Warren.
Fortunately, the driver (who stayed at the scene and who himself was in a state of shock) had been driving slowly. The violin that her daughter Marta had been carrying took the brunt of the impact. To her parents' amazement and relief she was not seriously hurt.
“We teach our kids road safety from a young age but they can still make mistakes. I am so incredibly grateful that the driver was driving slowly,” says Warren.
The accident highlighted the dangers that Stockbridge Primary pupils face as they cross the busy and awkward Henderson Row on their daily walk to school.
School crossing guard Willie Grieve says afternoons tend to be worse for speeding cars. In the morning, drivers can be impatient but traffic is more congested, so is moving slower.
The road, like most Edinburgh roads, has a 20mph limit. But drivers don’t always keep to it.
The accident motivated an entire class of 9 and 10 year old primary school children to become Junior Road Safety Officers.
The 22 safety officers in the Primary 6/5 class lead on road safety education in the school and help to teach younger classes about walking to school.
The children have also written to politicians and local councillors, several who turned up today for the unveiling of a three-metre banner for their road safety campaign ‘Safe, Slow, Stockbridge’.
Joining the students for the photo op was class teacher Miss Julia Devine, head teacher Caroline Ashbrook, local police, local MSP Angus Robertson, several councillors, and school crossing guard Willie.
The banner, which was chosen from a school design competition and funded by Stockbridge and Inverleith Community Council, will be placed on the railings outside the school. Other winning posters are on display in shops and businesses around Stockbridge.
#SafeSlowStockbridge is a friendly reminder for drivers:
• to stick to the 20 mile per hour speed limit
• to take extra care around the school
• and encourage more walking to school to reduce traffic
A recent study found that introducing 20mph speed limits to 80% of Edinburgh’s roads in 2016, led to a 40% fall in collisions in one year to 367, and a 39% fall in casualties to 409.
EdinburghGuide.com asked Edinburgh Central MSP Angus Robertson whether other jurisdictions around the world should consider a similar 20mph limit in their built up areas.
"I can't encourage strongly enough to (other jurisdictions) to do the same thing. I mean after all we owe it to the likes of the kids at Stockbridge Primary, at schools everywhere, that kids can go to school safely," said Robertson (see Twitter video below).
It’s encouraging that Edinburgh’s roads appear to be getting safer. But accidents still happen.
“It’s one of those things that you always assume will happen to someone else, but you are someone else to someone else,” says Marta.
“I now say to my friends, don’t cross without need, make sure you cross in safe places, be patient, don’t get distracted and be aware of the roads.”
When Kirstie Warren's 8yo daughter was hit by a car near her school in Stockbridge, her class was moved to start a new road safety campaign. Local MSP @angusrobertson said he hopes it'll remind drivers to stick to the 20mph limit. #safeslowstockbridge #20isplenty #Edinburgh pic.twitter.com/HgKoeYJsJ9
— EdinburghGuide.com (@EdiGuide) April 28, 2023