Oct 20 2008 Jackie Violet
Lollipop ladies lick road rage
IF you ever thought road rage was just between two irate drivers losing the plot with each other, think again. The most unlikely target is, would you believe, those wonderful, committed, dedicated people - lollipop ladies - and gents, for there are a few of them too.
Now, when my daughter was at infant school, we used to either walk or cycle there across the golf course, but also had to cross a very busy A road that had an island in the middle.
Thankfully, we had help in the guise of one lollipop lady and one lollipop man who doubled up as the school caretaker. Every morning and every afternoon, whatever the weather, religiously, both were waiting to help the hoards of children and parents cross this dangerous road.
The gratitude from parents and children alike was apparent on the last day of each term when the island was simply covered in presents of thanks for this wonderful service they provided. So, when I heard about lollipop persons being attacked, I was simply appalled.
I could not believe anyone would abuse, verbally or physically, such amazing people, who give up their time every day, whatever the weather, to ensure that children cross the road safely to their schools. Well, some 'motorists' (I can think of other names to call them) do.
So bad has the road rage become between drivers and lollipop ladies, that lollipop ladies across the UK are to be equipped with cameras hidden in their poles after a spate of incidents in which drivers sped past them or beat them up.
The LGA, Local Government Association, estimates that there are 1,400 'lollipop rage' incidents each year, which range from not stopping to assaults. These cameras, activated when the pole touches the ground, are then pointed at the offending cars. The drivers can then be located and punished.
I can tell you what I would do with the pole to these despicable drivers but I doubt it would get published!
Successful trials have been carried out by at least 10 local authorities, including Hillingdon in West London, Huddersfield, and Dudley in the West Midlands.
David Sparks, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, said he expected all councils would buy the poles, which cost around £900 each.
Drivers who disobey a 'lollipop' can face a maximum £1,000 fine and three points on their licence.
Is that all? There should be far harsher penalties here, including at least a three-month stint working as a lollipop person, both mornings and afternoons. That would teach them.