LRSC seeks views on controversial mannequin initiative

Iver mannequins

The London Road Safety Council (LRSC) is keen to hear opinions about a new road safety initiative which has seen mannequin-style figures placed outside local schools in neighbouring Buckinghamshire.

The controversial bollards, known as Bill and Belinda, have been installed by Iver District Council as a deterrent to speeding drivers. According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, more than half a dozen have been erected at a cost of almost £5,400 in an effort to make drivers think a child is crossing the road.

The initiative, which has also featured on the BBC News website, has received support from the RAC – but some local residents have hit out at the figures, calling them an ‘eyesore’ and potentially hazardous.

Iver resident Alison Major told the Daily Telegraph:

“They look awful, they should have been a normal traffic bollard. They will be knocked over in no time or defaced with graffiti.

“When people know that it’s just a bollard they will just continue as normal as they get used to them so when a child does step out the potential for them to get hit is still there.”

Luisa Sullivan, the Buckinghamshire County Councillor who is responsible for the initiative, said:

“I think we really need to experiment with our options.

“Whilst they may not look pretty, they have minimal facial appearances as to not distract drivers, they are merely supposed to resemble school children and just make drivers think.

“We also have a number of parents who mount the kerb at the school, and these bollards can act as a deterrent to this, maybe that is causing annoyance, but I think that if they make the school area safer they should only be seen as a good thing.”

Rod Dennis, RAC spokesman, told the Daily Telegraph that if the scheme is proven to be successful in encouraging drivers to slow down they should be seen as a positive move.

He said:

“Regardless of their aesthetics, these bollards are likely to catch the eye of drivers and send a clear messages that young children will be walking in the area.”

The LRSC says it is interested to hear the views of its members on the ‘striking’ initiative.

Cllr Wendy Brice-Thompson, chair of the LRSC, said:

“We are always interested to hear about new innovations that impact on reducing casualties; how effective do you think the Buckinghamshire measure will be?”

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07 September 2017

One Comment

  1. We have installed a Billy and a Belinda outside two schools in Bexley. Reactions were extremely diverse and care must be taken with site selection.

    The pair were originally installed outside one school on a main road close to a zebra crossing and had to be withdrawn due to reports of drivers making emergency stops as they thought children were about to step onto the crossing.

    We then offered them to selected schools on quieter roads with no zebra crossings and had expressions on interest from many of them. The two schools that were finally selected love their bollards and have been very supportive of them, reporting that they have a positive effect on driver behaviour.

    Some local residents were against them, finding them ‘a bit creepy’ or worried that drivers may be startled by them. We had one complaint that one of the bollards that depicted a child with darker skin ‘didn’t reflect the people living in the neighbourhood’. On the whole though, the school communities and the majority of local residents seemed to like Billy and Belinda.

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