Monday, 23 February 2009

Stop school bus overtaking

Lynn Merrifield from Kingseat is a doughty campaigner for school bus safety. She is rightly concerned for the safety of children, especially primary school children.

I recall the first day I put my 4 year old son, Alexander, on the school bus. Even though that bus did have seatbelts it was an alarming prospect for my wee boy. However, thankfully, in seven years at Primary School there wasn't one problem. Unfortunately that's not been the case for so many children who have died travelling to and from school.

Last week Lynn and I met with Stagecoach for what was a very informative discussion on safety issues on buses. One of the issues we explored was the speed of the vehicles and whether overtaking school buses should be banned just like in the USA. But how could that be done without investing in a stock of yellow buses? Perhaps more distinctive temporary signage on school buses could be provided or we could simply ban bus overtaking during the hours of the school run in the morning and afternoon.

Grandad Ron Beaty from Aberdeenshire is lobbying for a change to the Road Safety Act to make such overtaking illegal. The Scottish and UK Governments need to consider this urgently. For more information log onto

The next stop in our campaign is a meeting with Councillor Tony Martin and officers from Fife Council.


  1. My children get on the school bus in Kingseat and cars wizz past the bus, without a thought of children. The new speed indicators, as you arrive into Kingseat help, but I agree that it would be ideal to ban overtaking.

    A simple sign hung out of the drivers windows or perhaps an flashing LED sign in the back window.
    Nothing to break the bank but potentially save a life.
    Thank you all for your efforts.

  2. If there is to be a ban or new signs fitted, they need to be something new / flashing / maybe LED based rather than painted, and it should be as the bus is on the approach to the spot where it is to pull in.

    I reckon that morning drivers will put the foot down to over take if they anticipate a bus about to stop.

  3. I am not at all surprised at the comments regarding speeding by Stagecoach buses. This is a continuous problem in Culross Village - regular buses and school contract buses - and it is only a matter of time before there is a serious incident. It is about time that Stagecoach and its employees had a higher regard for public safety.

  4. This is one way of causing more hold ups at times of the school runs where traffic is at best heavy. The roads must be left to run freely not held up with 5 mile tail backs behind school buses. At time I think the world is going mad and common sense goes out the window. Let traffic keep moving and teach children how to get on and off the busses safely and to wait till it is safe to cross the road as the green cross code used to be used.

  5. Gordon

    I think you exaggerate the possible effect of this on traffic flows but we should try it out in a pilot first to make sure. For years children have been killed getting on and off buses despite a considerable number of measures and education being fully utilised. It's about time we tried this out.


  6. Hi.
    Firstly thanks to Willie Rennie you for placing our website on his blog.
    Yes all school bus safety needs to be seriously looked at.

    So if i may be allowed to pass comment, my Granddaughter Erin Beaty was run down in 2004 getting of the school bus.

    In 2008 we had two teenagers killed, getting of a school bus, all in Aberdeenshire.Robyn Oldham 15 & Alexander Milne 12, can you even imagine the pain these familes are going through.

    A young lad was killed in Crossgates in 2006, & so it goes on.

    Malcolm Bruce is preparing a bill to go before Westminster shortly. We will support him in this, as we hope every right minded parent or grand parent will.

    I myself spoke to the petition committee in January & will again this month.

    As to Gordon & his reply, on 25 the Feb, i expect he is either a parent or Grandparent, he it seems it also a driver, so i fail to understand why he does not have concerns on school bus safety?.

    In fact research has just been completed showing that in cities its the slow traffic,that actually saves lives, so maybe due to being held up, can save a life!

    We never thought our children would be involved in a road accident, all were very safety conscious.

    In fact Erin was less than a foot from the kerb on the other side of the road & safety, this being so how would this work Gordon
    > Let traffic keep moving and teach children how to get on and off the busses safely and to wait till it is safe to cross the road as the green cross code used to be used.

    Maybe if he goes to that has been produced by Talisman Energy, he might understand there is much going on regarding teaching children.

    I don’t believe for one minute that any parent, or in fact a Grand Parents last word as a child goes out the door, is anything but a safety message. As i know most bus drivers also do.

    If every driver slowed to a crawl, or in fact stopped passing a school bus, there would be many less injuries & deaths

    Its not rocket science, all we ask for is the law is looked at, then when they see the mistakes, change it.

    Or do any parents/grandparents disagree

    I hope Willie Rennie & the Lib Dems keep up the good work on this subject,they have our support if they can change things.
    Ron Beaty, if you wish to contact me you can do so through our website