Leeds City Academy

Watching Speed to Raise Awareness and Save Lives

On 24th January, Leeds City Academy students gathered crucial road safety data on Woodhouse Street between 9:45am and 10:15am.

Woodhouse Street is a great concern for Leeds City Academy, as it is a busy route situated before the entrance of the school and a neighbouring nursery. It is also a very busy road to navigate, shrouded by overhanging trees and poor street lighting. Although the speed limit is 30mph and the road provides two zebra crossings, there have been incidents and injuries to pedestrians in the past year.

Accompanied by PC Berrell and Mrs Foy, students Rishikesh, Safia, Holly, David and Lasharde braved the cold conditions in high-vis jackets and monitored special speed-reading hardware. The equipment specifically detects the speed of oncoming traffic, in this instance heading in the direction of Hyde Park Corner.

The students recorded crucial data at this time, including: vehicles exceeding the 30mph speed limit; the number of pedestrians using the crossing and the number of vehicles committing road traffic offences (not wearing seat belts or using mobile phones when driving).

"One person was on a mobile phone," explains Rishikesh. "This is actually very dangerous because it is a distraction. People can't see what is in front of them which can cause accidents. Also, 22 people did not have seatbelts on whilst travelling. If you don't have one on you can cause damage to yourself in the event of an accident."

PC Berrell said: "This session highlighted the amount of traffic travelling along Woodhouse Street in such a short time frame. It was conducted after rush hour, however there was still a high volume of traffic. Typically, as soon as drivers saw the sign they slowed right down and passed at around 23mph. However excessive speeds were registered at 31, 32, 36 and the highest being 44mph!"

Two members of the public also approached PC Berrell and asked what could be done about the crossings on the road. They stated it cannot be seen due to the overhanging trees and that it is poorly lit during the mornings and evenings. They also expressed concerns at the safety of the crossing and stated that on one occasion they were nearly knocked over whilst using the crossing. There have been several reports of such incidents from members of the community in previous months.

PC Berrell adds: "There were members of the Public using the crossing. On two occasions during our 30 minute investigation, vehicles failed to stop when a member of the public was stood waiting to cross. This shows that this is a regular occurrence and doesn’t just occur when the students are entering or leaving school. The number of vehicles failing to stop for students is much higher."

"This is a massive concern to the school," Ms Foy concluded. "Drivers can see that we're here with a speed camera and yet we've still got drivers coming at us at 44 mph. It's really quite shocking."

Click the video below to see our students in action, collecting findings which will be presented to Hilary Benn, MP for Leeds Central, this week.