Plucky schoolchildren did their best to slow down speeding drivers when they descended on a busy Gorleston road - armed with a hairdryer.

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Dressed in their uniforms the students from Ormiston Venture Academy and Great Yarmouth High School thrust the trusty beauty device in the face of motorists, in a bid to lower their speeds by tricking them into thinking they were being clocked by a radar gun.

But their ploy was not a tongue in cheek prank as it formed part of a road safety awareness morning led by Norfolk County Council’s Titan team, which aims to help vulnerable youngsters become safer and more confident when travelling and using public transport.

The pupils also monitored traffic speeds with a real radar gun and attempted to cross busy Brasenose Avenue - a key road on the route to Ormiston Academy - and were shocked by the results they gathered in both exercises.

Peter Walsh, who runs Norfolk’s Titan scheme, said the youngsters were “disgusted” that half of drivers failed to stop for them as they attempted to use the zebra crossing near the Fastolfe Arms pub.

“Two buses and two taxis went straight through when they were trying to cross and I got the fingers thrown up to me,” he added. “At the end of the hour and a half the children were appalled.

“They said at the end the lesson to be learnt was ‘don’t trust motorists’.”

And despite their efforts with the hairdryer Mr Walsh said their ploy failed to have any real effect on drivers - with many being clocked with the real radar gun a few yards away doing 40mph in the residential street.

He added: “When they pointed it at people, very occasionally it worked, but as soon as I stood up with my high-visibility jacket and a hairdryer that worked, because they thought I was the police.

“We’ve had several complaints from the locals who said that this particular zebra crossing is so dangerous. Many came up to us and were very interested in what we were doing, and to tell us how disgusted they were with incidents of people not showing any care for the community.”

Despite students’ shock at drivers’ speed and failure to stop, Mr Walsh said the exercise had taught them one of Titan’s important road safety messages - that of being a safe pedestrian.

“They very much took that on board,” he added.

The results of their speed survey, and feedback from their experience, will now be passed to the police and county council. And more joined up working between the schools is being planned to cover more of the Titan scheme’s travel lessons and tips.

26 comments

  • did anyone report the drivers who gave the abusive sign???? i very much doubt it. pedestrians have the right of way at a pedestrian crossing if they use it properly like waiting until such time as the drivers have actually noticed them not to run straight up and expect traffic to stop on a penny also not to ride a bycycle across. pedestrians were about before the horse and cart.

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    i am mostly wrong??

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • Well done Peter for getting up and actually trying to make a difference, rather than sitting down moaning.

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    Andy T

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • This really is a hare-brained scheme but I can't decide whether describing it as hair-brained is amusing or ignorant.

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    JCW

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • SO THOSE PUPILS WILL NEVER BREAK THE SPEED LIMITS AND EVER HAVE ACCIDENTS IN THEIR DRIVING LIVES. WAIT UNTIL THERE 17 YEARS OLD AND GET ON YARMOUTH SEAFRONT ON A WEEKEND EVENING !

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    yarco

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Baiting for a black eye if you ask me. Motorists already feel scammed by the system and there are plenty of angry drivers out there, which do not feel that it is wrong to express this in a physical manner. It is shocking to see the rise in road rage on the roads today, mainly with the newer, younger drivers being mostly at fault. They are not all completely to blame as there many granddads out there that behave like spoilt teenagers. The point that I am getting at is that I feel it is very unwise to use schoolchildren to impersonate law enforcement as when drivers discover the plot, they will most likely be angered.

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    Deadmau5

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • I'd agree with some of the points made already. But if this exercise and report has again raised the awareness with the public and authorities of the appalling driving standards of that significant minority of local drivers then it's served some purpose. It's the council and or police that need to take this up. There is only one winner in impact between a motorised vehicle and an pedestrian (or cyclist) - whoever is in the right or wrong - "It wasn't my fault" doesn't bring the kiddie back - think of that as we approach Christmas! And parents - put down the 'I Phone' - hold your child's hand and indoctrinate ROAD SAFETY - there's a minority of Gorleston Drivers out there to get you!!!!

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    wallywalnut

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Whilst I understand the benefit of this...http:www.edp24.co.uknewssafe_haven_on_the_road_to_independence_1_1490075....what I don't understand is some civil servant standing at the side of the road instructing school kids to point a hairdryer at passing cars? Aside from the fact that motorists are likely to be unimpressed by the "the joke", it gives the wrong message to the kids IMHO.

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    Col

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • This purports to be the raison deter behind Titan....http:www.edp24.co.uknewssafe_haven_on_the_road_to_independence_1_1490075, which sounds to me like a worthwhile scheme. Contrast with some self important hi-vis idiot encouraging kids to point a hairdryer at oncoming vehicles....

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    Col

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • I wonder how many of these 'shocked' students will show scant disregard for the speed limits once they can drive. That's right the vast majority of them. I assume there were signs out warning drivers about this 'stunt'?

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    Paradroid

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Surely this is impersonating a policeman and NCC, the so called teachers and the kids should be charged as such. I don't blame the busses and cars for sticking the fingers up.

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    "V"

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • HAIRBRAINED AND STUPID. Can you imagine the amount of paperwork which would have been involved if one of these monkeys was injured? I would presonally have stopped my car and called the police, this is stupidity. But then, it was organised by a council.........................

    Report this comment

    windup

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Living in a street where there are lots of children and speeding cars I say more power to their elbow.

    Report this comment

    DocOhNo

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • It has come to something when school children have to enforce the law by imitating something the police should be doing.

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    John L Norton

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • OK - there may be a discrepancy in the statistics, or in this case maybe not - the simple fact that I observe on a regular basis is that a significant minority of motorists in and around Gorleston of both sexes and all ages (a) speed excessively in town (b) do not stop at pedestrian crossings (c) run red lights and (d) do other stuff that puts other people at serious risk. There is a further statistic for Britain's roads for year 2011 - Killed 1,901 - Seriously Injured 23,122 - Slightly Injured 178,927. So statistically, today in Britain five policemen are knocking on five doors telling five families that one of theirs has been killed on the road - plus all the other stuff - and I guess the 'finger uppers' can stick their fingers up at that as well - and perhaps think they are cool. And to pick up on one of the comments below - if aforementioned police officer was to say "Sorry missus - your boy was run over and killed by a speeding motorist - but look at it this way - if he'd have ever got to seventeen, he'd have been speeding anyway - so that's OK" - it would not be OK. So if, as a result of this exercise Peter Walsh has taught one child or one motorist a bit about staying alive on the roads then he's moving the whole deal forward - actually he may already have saved a life in Gorleston that we shall never know about.

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    wallywalnut

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Energies would be better directed at improving all safety measures. I notice a new speed camera sign has gone up on a local village road Whether this is in advance of a fixed camera or because the road in question often has a speed van I don't know. What I do know is that the road is used by pupils from several large schools and a nursery, that the crossing they use has not changed for over thirty years, that there is no crossing where many of them get off the bus and cross the road and there is no pelican crossing. I also know that there is ample space -a very wide verge-for a cycle path to be created alongside the pavement and this too has always been the case. Of course motorists should observe limits but councils from parish upwards, need to open their eyes to what is needed and the police should have the honesty and decency to be able to say to councils, look your provision for safe access to this or that school is not good enough. Where children walking or cycling to school are concerned the problem is not just speed. Where they cross roads and junctions has to be given thought too-pelicans are safest and sometimes pavements at junctions need rails to move the crossing point away from a corner.

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    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • Speeding and ignoring pedestrian crossings is dangerous and irresponsible, so are the actions of these pupils and those people 'in authority' supporting and encouraging them.

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    AE

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Peter Walsh need's to stand at the bus stop in the morning's when these school children get off the bus and step out directly behind it, in front of our what ever way they cross over into the path of other vehicles with no thought for the driver's who have to avoid hitting them. Lesson one for them should be use the crossing that is provided, perhaps the head's of Ormiston could bring a few pupil's at a time and teach them about road safety.

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    loco

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • loco raises a valid point. Although I know the area I cannot comment on the pupils in question, but everyone must have experienced the high school kids who either are very stupid or who are having a laugh or think they are invincible. I do know that research has shown that c. 12 year old boys have very a poor risk assessment ability. This being the case they need to be instructed that the responsibility for their safety rests as much with them as with car drivers. Of course car drivers need to adjust their speed to a safe level there is no question, but the distress caused to motorists when some wally kid almost jumps on a bonnet from behind a car is not funny nor is the irritation when they decide to stroll across the road whilst looking the other way. Road safety works both ways.

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    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • .....actually he may already have saved a life in Gorleston that we shall never know about. ......maybe we should erect a memorial to him, just in case he has...donations to the 'Peter Walsh may have saved the lives children in Gorleston fund' please.

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    Rhombus

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • If this exercise made the kids more aware of the surroundings, well done, continue. I doubt this comes remotley close to impersonating a policeman, these kids have way to much intellegence.

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    Paul Morley

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • looking at the amount of news coverage and comments , it seems peter walsh has got the desired effect of the exersize . well done peter !

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    phillip mitchell

    Friday, November 16, 2012

  • I find the actions of bad drivers in built up areas irresponsible. BUT I also find the actions of the teachers and the Titan team even more irresponsible. The children must be breaking the law by impersonating the authorities and as such could end up in court. Are the childrens parents aware of whats going on? If there were any convictions for this it would be the parents who would carry them with resultant affects on their own lives including their jobs. I also agree with others that it's a very distracting thing to do and should be left to the police to carry out.

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    Spencer Dale

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • .....Peter Walsh, who runs Norfolk’s Titan scheme, said the youngsters were “disgusted” that half of drivers failed to stop for them as they attempted to use the zebra crossing near the Fastolfe Arms pub......I sort of don't believe this unless it was a very small sample, say two drivers and one of them didn't stop. It would have been better to teach the kids the importance of statistical stringency when producing surveys, and put this one in the statistical bin.

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    Rhombus

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • This sort of stunt is dangerous and distracting. If cars are not stopping for a zebra crossing near a school then the school needs to make complaints and lobby for a traffic light controlled crossing.

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    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • I'll have to try this in my road (a 20mph limit exists). No doubt, one of the first cars will be the 'boys in blue' to feel my collar!

    Report this comment

    biglingers

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Most of the careless driver near schools are late parents dropping thier kids of with little or no regard for other people's kids.

    Report this comment

    KeithS

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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