Huntingdonshire mum tackles road safety with bike box

St Ives mum Kate Thorne, got so fed up with doing the school run in her car that she bought a cargo

St Ives mum Kate Thorne, got so fed up with doing the school run in her car that she bought a cargo bike, with box on front which can carry all three children (l-r) George Thorne, Henry Thorne and Hattie Thorne - Credit: Archant

A MUM concerned about her three children’s safety on the school run has bought a three-wheeled bike with a box on the front big enough to carry them.

Kate Thorne, 33, said she decided to ditch her car after problems trying to cross the road to school. After parking her car there had been numerous “near-misses” trying to cross St Ives Road to Hemingford Grey Primary School with her two boys, Henry, six, and George, five, and her daughter, 15-month-old Hattie, in a pram.

“I was sick of the whole driving thing,” she said. “The problem at the moment is it’s busy in the morning and there’s a big queue of traffic. Drivers are not aware that cars are stopping to allow people to cross and are overtaking them. You find yourself having to shout at your children to get to the pavement because a car’s overtaking. Last Thursday morning, I saw a mum having a discussion with a driver who had just overtaken a car which had stopped to let them cross. They said they thought the car had been parking.

“There used to be a lollipop person but, apparently, we do not meet the criteria any more. Someone will get knocked over and everyone will think ‘Why didn’t we try to do something?’”

Mrs Thorne, of Greenfields, bought the bike, mainly because her son Henry has autism.

“I cannot trust him to ride a bike on his own,” she said. “With autism, he doesn’t have much sense of danger. At least if they’re all in the box, they’re safe.”

She also approached headteacher Kate Fox to see if more could be done to raise awareness of the traffic problem. Mrs Fox said the school tried to reinstate the crossing patrol but had been told by Cambridgeshire County Council that the volume of traffic was not great enough.

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She said: “Ideally, we would want a zebra crossing or a crossing patrol – it’s a visual stop sign, something that says ‘Stop, we have children crossing’. We have more children walking, biking and scootering than ever before. We want everyone to be safe in whatever form of transport they come.”

Mrs Fox said the school regularly monitored traffic – a survey is planned for after half-term – and advised parents to report incidents to the police.

A county council spokesman confirmed there had not been a crossing patrol since September 2009. “When the previous person left, the site was reviewed and didn’t meet the criteria for a replacement,” he said.

“The road outside the school has school signs and flashing warning signs on both approaches, together with a speed bump.”