A large, mythical dragon will welcome pupils at St Michael’s Church of England Primary Academy in Exeter back to school in September.
The dragon spans the road outside the school and is the first of its kind in Devon.
The colourful dragon is designed to slow traffic.
It will encourage people driving to be more aware of people who are walking and cycling, to make the space outside the school safer.
Marking completion of road safety project
We've worked with Devon County Council, the school and local community on a road safety project for two years.
The installation of the dragon design marks the completion of the project.
James Cleeton, Sustrans Director for the South of England, explained:
“The dragon design is intended to show people driving that they are entering a special school zone, so they should drive with extra care and consideration.
“This type of road calming measure has been successful across the UK and Europe. Evidence from previous project shows designs like this positively influence driving behaviour by, for example, slowing speeds.
“Slower motor traffic speeds make a road safer for people walking, cycling or scooting.
“The installation is well-timed to support families who have chosen these active modes of travel during lockdown.”
Video created by Devon County Council
Understanding safety concerns and finding solutions
The design came about after a series of workshops with the school and local community.
The workshops explored road safety concerns and local barriers to walking and cycling. They also generated ideas for solutions, including the dragon artwork.
We tested the dragon design in a trial in November 2018 and received positive feedback.
70% of respondents to our survey agreed that it would make the street safer.
Supporting families to choose active travel
The project team hopes the dragon will support families to choose active travel for the school run. Slowing traffic speeds should help people to feel safer to be on foot, scooter or bike.
Karen Leach, Acting Headteacher of St Michael’s C of E Primary Academy, commented:
“We have always been delighted to work with Sustrans. The children have been excited to engage with designing the dragon for this installation.
“The St Michael’s community will always engage and support projects such as this, which will enable our children to actively travel to school safely.”
Embedding a culture of active travel
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for cycling, said:
“This exciting project complements the recent improvements to the E3 cycle route which runs through this area.
“Together they will help families and the wider community to walk and cycle safely, not only as we come out of lockdown, but embedding a culture of active travel within the city for the long term.
"This will help provide health benefits and improve the local environment."
The Road Safety Trust funded the project. Devon County Council provided capital funding and in-kind support.
The aim of the project was to seek innovative, low cost solutions to address road safety concerns.