Fulwood mum campaigns for safer roads on school route after 14-year-old is struck by van

A Fulwood mum is seeking to make a busy road safer for schoolchildren, after a 14-year-old boy was struck by a van this week.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 5:37 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd March 2021, 10:42 am

Linzi Fairclough, whose 10-year-old daughter attends a local primary school, was distressed to learn about the accident outside Fulwood Academy in Black Bull Lane shortly before 3pm on Wednesday.

That night, the 46-year-old said she was "unable to sleep" as she worried about the boy, who remains in a serious condition at Alder Hey Hospital where he was taken by air ambulance.

After a sleepless night, Linzi said she resolved to act on her concerns and launched a petition to seek safety improvements along the busy 30mph school route.

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Since Wednesday's accident, more than 500 people have added their names to Linzi's petition, with city councillors among those lending their support. Pic: Neil Cross

In just two days, nearly 600 people have added their names to her petition, with city councillors among those lending their support.

"I spoke to friends as it really upset me," said Linzi.

"Being a parent and having friends whose children witnessed it, it really got to me. Just hearing about a child being knocked down is a parent's worst nightmare.

"I've never started anything like this before, but I just feel compelled to do something.

A 14-year-old boy remains in a serious condition at Royal Preston Hospital after he was knocked down by a van outside Fulwood Academy in Black Bull Lane at 2.55pm on Wednesday (March 17). Pic: Neil Cross

"That night, I couldn't think of anything else apart from worry about this boy, his friends and family - I am praying he makes a full recovery."

Linzi says her daughter, Lilly-May, begins high school next year and the thought of her crossing the road by herself makes her "frantic with worry".

She said: "I am a parent of a 10-year-old who is due to start high school in September and to say I am worried is an understatement.

"Luckily, she will avoid this route but the worry it has caused me is enough to know that if she was walking that way, I wouldn't be able to rest on a daily basis. I'd be frantic."

Police say their investigation into the incident is ongoing, but there is no suggestion that the driver, who stopped at the scene, had been speeding. Pic: Neil Cross

After witnessing the traffic in Black Bull Lane on her daily dog walks, she says "something needs to be done". Linzi has suggested a crossing near the school entrance, as well as chicanes, to help prevent any future accidents.

She said: "I live in this area and have done most of my life and I drive past the school daily and it's clear that it's not safe for the children to cross.

"Wednesday's incident has just confirmed my fears and has made me feel the need to take some form of action. Things must change. I can't ignore it."

Linzi's campaign, 'Making Black Bull Lane safe for all', has received support from Fulwood Academy. But the school's principal says children also need to be more aware of road safety, in addition to any new traffic calming measures.

Linzi Fairclough, 46, whose 10-year-old daughter attends a local primary school, has started a petition for traffic calming measures in Black Bull Lane after a 14-year-old schoolboy was injured outside Fulwood Academy on Wednesday (March 17). Pic: Neil Cross

Dave Lancaster, principal at Fulwood Academy, said: "Any headteacher wants to make their school as safe as possible, and we would support any initiative which helps manage traffic outside of our academy.

"Anything we can do to protect our students is obviously incredibly important.

"What is vital, however, is that we look at every possible action we can take to ensure that accidents are avoided.

"Physical measures need to sit hand-in-hand with educational initiatives."

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City councillor Phoenix Adair has also voiced support for additional road safety measures on the route.

They said: "Linzi reached out to my fellow ward councillors and myself to make us aware of the petition that she had set up and I immediately signed it and offered her our support.

"We are pleased that Linzi has set up a petition that has now been signed by over 500 residents, which will add greater weight in our calls on the county council to do something about the traffic in the area, especially with the number of schools on this stretch.

"There really needs to be a crossing installed to help school children and local residents cross the road more safely. We encourage residents to stand up and make their voice heard by signing the petition."

Lancashire Police say their investigation into the incident is ongoing, and it is "too early to categorically say what happened and who, if anybody, was at fault." But the force has confirmed that the driver stopped at the scene and no arrests have been made.

Lancashire County Council, who are responsible for the road, said it is awaiting the outcome of the investigation before it considers whether new traffic calming measures are necessary.

A council spokesman said: "We are very sorry to hear of this incident, and wish the young man well with his recovery.

"Once the police have completed their investigations and we have received their report into the circumstances of this incident, we will consider whether there is anything we could reasonably do to reduce the risk of a similar incident happening at this location in future."

Linzi says she hopes her petition will lead authorities to review busy roads in school areas and prevent other tragic accidents in the future.

She said: "If the petition just gets the ball rolling and gives those with the power to change things something to think about, then I'll be satisfied.

"If one new school crossing can prevent one more family from going through the hell that this boy's family are going through right now, then it's worth it."

You can view Linzi Fairclough's petition here.