Jan 31 2013 by Ian Proctor, Harrow Observer
A GIRL aged just seven has challenged a councillor as to why a busy junction on her cycle route to school lacks a pelican crossing to make it safer.
Little Ella McDonough emailed former Harrow Council leader Bill Stephenson (Labour), a Headstone North ward councillor, about the dangers of her two-wheeled commute when navigating the north side of the crossroads of Pinner Road and Station Road in North Harrow.
She wrote: “I am in year two now in St John Fisher School and I live in Gloucester Road.
“Often I go to school on my bike and I need to cross Station Road at the traffic lights and in some directions there isn’t a green man, and my dad has to say if we can cross or not.
“Is it possible if we can have more green men? Otherwise I won’t be allowed to cross on my own.
“Also, my neighbour can’t see well and thinks the same as me.”
Ella’s father Neil McDonough, a 39-year-old teacher, rides alongside her to St John Fisher Catholic Primary School in Melrose Road, Pinner, with his younger daughter Margot, two, in a seat on the back of his own bicycle.
Mr McDonough said: “There’s a limited time to cross and you have to have your wits about you.
“It’s quite risky and there’s no way I would let a young child do it, even in a few years’ time.”
He went on: “Ella was asking me about when she can cycle to school on her own and I said, ‘There’s a problem because of this junction’ and I thought perhaps we would find out if we could contact somebody, and that somebody was Mr Stephenson.
“We haven’t heard back yet but I'm interested to hear what the council say about it. Obviously it’s something we could get changed.”
Mr McDonough said other crossings at the same junction were pelican crossings so it seems odd the one they need to use is not.
Harrow Council’s divisional director for community safety and environment, John Edwards, said: “We will not take the slightest of risks when it comes to the safety of pedestrians and there are four crossings along this road.
“We have a duty to ensure our roads do not become congested and we hope pedestrians appreciate that a green man controlled crossing point at the junction of Pinner Road and Station Road would cause disruption to traffic flow.
“When it comes to road safety, we always follow the advice of police and we know that the measures we have in place are keeping pedestrians safe.
“It is vital that motorists stay within the correct speed limits and pedestrians take care when crossing busy roads.”