Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Parents living in fear of road risk

Parents of children as young as seven who are risking their lives to cycle to a Stanhope bus stop are pleading for authorities to see sense.

February 21, 2013 4:20am

Parents Keith and Kim Andrews and Rachel O'Brien want answers to their bus safety concerns before it's too late.

What will it take for authorities to act on safety concerns raised for young Stanhope bus travellers?

Children as young as seven are risking their lives to cycle 2km out of Stanhope on a busy main road to catch a school bus to Kyabram.

About a dozen parents and children met at a café in Stanhope’s main street during last September’s school holidays, pleading for sanity to prevail and for the bus to stop in town.

They asked Member for Rodney Paul Weller, former Campaspe Shire Cr Marion Riley and Education Department and Public Transport Victoria representatives to fix the problem before one of their children was seriously injured or worse.

They told how at both ends of the school day about 15 children dice with cars and trucks travelling at 100km/h along the narrow stretch of Curr Rd.

In return, they heard how the bus would never enter Stanhope.

Father of three Keith Andrews said he winced every time his children related a near miss.

But he had no other choice than to send them off on their own, he said.

“Many of us are working parents, so we can’t be there to take them to and pick them up from the bus stop,” he said.

Mr Andrews said he could not believe the reason given for why the bus stop could not be moved into town.

“They said it was something to do with zoning and if they wanted they could move the bus stop further towards Kyabram.

“They did tell us, though, that our kids could catch the bus in Stanhope that goes to Rushworth P-12 College, but we didn’t choose to send our kids to Rushworth.

“In other words it is bureaucratic red tape which risks our kids’ lives,” he said.

“It’s just crazy. There’s no bike track and no speed restrictions. The gravel on the side of the road is full of bindi eyes, so the kids have to ride on the bitumen.

“It’s only a matter of time before a kid is hit or a truck sucks one of them in.”

Jenni Serra, whose husband Phil chaired the meeting last September, said as well as the obvious safety concerns, there was no shelter at the designated bus stop on Morrissey Rd.

“We were promised at least that would change, but as of February 2013, I have not seen anybody out marking spots for a new shelter or for fencing.

“We would like our stops, be it on the side of a busy road in the middle of nowhere, to be legally safe and at least allow the children to feel safe once they are there.”

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