Traffic-calming dragon could keep children safe outside Sidmouth Primary School

A ‘mythical dragon’ could be used to protect schoolchildren and boost road safety outside Sidmouth Primary School.

County councillor Stuart Hughes says he wants the ‘innovative’ scheme to be brought to Woolbrook Road after it was successfully used in Exeter.

A huge, colourful design spanning the road outside St Michael’s Church of England Primary Academy, in Heavitree, has been helping slow traffic and protect walkers and cyclists.

Charity Sustrans and Devon County Council (DCC) worked on the project with the school and local community for two years.

Councillor Hughes said: “Several parents have contacted me expressing road safety concerns outside Sidmouth Primary School prior to the start and end of the school day.

“I have therefore submitted a request for a similar scheme to the ‘mythical dragon’ which was introduced as a trial in Exeter last year and which is proving to be extremely successful in slowing traffic and protecting walkers and cyclists.

“The county council and Sustrans worked on the project for two years with the local community and school, and children at the school were involved throughout with the design.

“Evidence from Exeter and previous projects across the country has shown designs like the dragon positively influence driving behaviour outside schools and, with a 20mph speed limit already in place, I’m hoping that Sidmouth can be next in line for this innovative road safety calming scheme.”

James Cleeton, Sustrans director for the South of England, said of the Exeter scheme in August of last year: “The dragon design is intended to show people driving that they are entering a special school zone, so they should drive with extra care and consideration.

“This type of road-calming measure has been used successfully across the UK and Europe over a number of years.

“Evidence from previous projects has shown designs like this positively influence driving behaviour by, for example, slowing speeds.

“Slower motor traffic speeds make a road safer for people walking, cycling or scooting.

“The placing of the dragon is well-timed to support the many families who have taken to these active modes of travel during the coronavirus lockdown.”

More than 250 ash dieback-infected trees being felled along Sidmouth roadsides

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