Concerns raised over children playing ‘chicken’ on busy Cookstown road

Puffin Crossing
Puffin Crossing

Concerns have been raised after a number of people reported seeing young children playing ‘chicken’ on the busy Westland Road in Cookstown.

A number of young children have been spotted dashing back and forth across the road in front of cars, with some very near misses along the road which is known as Cookstown’s ‘unofficial bypass.’

Lollypop Man

Lollypop Man

Earlier this year, Cookstown Sinn Fein Councillor John McNamee called for a crossing to be installed on the busy road to allow residents living on the road easier access to shops and other services along the road.

A spokesperson for DRD Road Service said: “A scheme for the provision of a Puffin Crossing on the Westland Road South, Cookstown is planned for the current financial year and is expected to be complete by March 2015. It will be situated south of the junction of Cemetery Road and will cost approximately £20,000.”

UUP Councillor Trevor Wilson has urged people to adhere to road safety rules particularly as schools start back soon and the roads become more congested.

Cllr Wilson also raised an issue on the Morgan’s Hill Road in the town where a pedestrian crossing is in place, but is not being adhered to by motorists.

Cllr Wilson said: “A puffin crossing is in place on the Morgan’s Hill Road, yet motorists are still speeding through that area. It is very dangerous and the volume of traffic which uses that back road is ever increasing, particularly in recent weeks with the closure of the Oldtown.”

As the return to school approaches, police are urging parents and road users across Mid-Ulster to plan ahead for busier rush-hours and heavier traffic.

Inspector Swan explains: “Over the summer months, many of us have benefitted from lower levels of traffic and shorter journey times.

“It is essential that all road users remain focused on their driving without distraction and they should therefore leave greater time for their journey. Most importantly, drivers should keep an eye out for children on bicycles or on foot, particularly when close to schools, junctions and at bus stops.

“Parents should ensure that high visibility clothing and bags are worn and carried by children and that road safety instruction is given, in particular, how to cross safely- looking both ways without being distracted by friends, mobile phones or music players. Pupils should also only cross where it is safe, preferably at pedestrian crossings.

”It is important that they cross precisely at these locations and not take the risk of crossing even a short distance away.”