Road safety strategy out for consultation

The bollards aim to heighten driver awareness.
The bollards aim to heighten driver awareness.

Bollards in the shape of young children, sensors which detect movement at the back of vehicles and playground lessons in safety have all been brought in by Midlothian Council to help save lives on the roads.

The local authority has adopted a campaign of action aimed at improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists on its roads.

Now it hopes to boost its reputation further by encouraging more people to leave their cars at home and use an improved network of cycle paths and trails to make their daily journeys.

It is currently holding a public consultation on its active travel strategy for the next three years.

It reveals that among the projects introduced to try and tackle some issues already have been installing bollards made to look like children in uniform, outside a school with busy junctions.

The bollards, which were introduced as part of a project at Mayfield Primary School, Dalkeith, aimed to raise drivers’ awareness.

The scheme has been trialled by a number of local authorities down south with mixed response with some parents branding the bollards “creepy”.

Some bin lorries have also been fitted with sensors which detect cyclists or pedestrians moving from the rear of the vehicle to the front left side, as well as audible warning systems and a warning sign which lights up when the vehicles are turning left.

Campaigns to tackle irresponsible car parking outside schools have also been introduced including some straight-talking banners with the question “What part of school – keep clear don’t you understand?”.

As well as improving safety the local authority is aiming to cash in on the county’s potential as a cycling and walking tourism destination with its new three-year plan to improve its pathways.

The re-opening of the Borders Railway led to an estimated increase of nearly seven per cent in visitors in its first year and the local authority is keen to build on its continued success by attracting more people.

It believes key to its success will be investing in a network of paths and trails which connect the county’s attractions without using cars or public network.

The local authority said Rosslyn Chapel and the National Mining Museum, in Newtongrange, had become the first two visitor attractions in the Lothians to achieve Visit Scotland’s Cyclists Welcome awards.

It said: “Midlothian has grat potential in becoming an attractive cycling and walking tourism destination, especially after the re-opening of the Borders Railway.”

The consultation closes this week with a final plan expected to be published later this year.