FORTY-THREE people have been injured in traffic collisions on or near 10 school crossings set to be scrapped by the council.
Figures for accidents over the past three years appear to indicate how dangerous the roads can be when lollipop men and women are not on duty – and how much safer it may be when they are.
None of the 36 collisions involved children and few were during the school rush.
The figures, obtained by the council this week, are among the factors it will take into account when deciding which of the patrols should be cut.
The Advertiser has launched a campaign to save the crossings, which cost £60,000 a year.
Each of the under threat lollipop men and women work on automated or zebra crossings, though parents and head teachers who have backed out effort say this is far from a guarantee of safety.
The data, compiled by Transport for London (TfL), shows the number of incidents between January 2009 and September 2012.
The area around the automated crossing on Lodge Lane, which serves Elmwood Junior School, saw the highest number of accidents during this period, with eight.
None of the collisions occurred during times generally thought of as the morning or afternoon school rush.
In the most serious incident, three people were injured when a car driven by a 21-year-old man went through a red light and crashed into another vehicle. In December 2011 a cyclist was injured when he jumped the traffic signal and collided with a car. Some of the incidents appear the fault of the pedestrian, including a 32-year-old man who was seriously injured after running into the road. In another a 65-year-old was standing in the street watching the Olympics last July when a car ran over his foot.
Lollipop patrollers and parents concerned by the cuts have spoken of dangerous conditions caused by hurrying or impatient drivers, which fits the description of several recorded collisions on a number of the crossings.
A pair of lollipop patrollers serving Broadmead Primary and The Crescent are under threat. TfL data shows there were two collisions near the zebra crossing on Sydenham Road and five in Northcote.
Joe Wittams, a parent governor at The Crescent, said: "Statistics like this can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. It's also extremely difficult to tell how many accidents the school crossings have prevented.
"What I know is that our lollipop people must have been put there for a reason. At some point a risk assessment will have shown there was cause for concern. The council may use stats like this to prove their point, but they should also be taking into account the other factors which make an accident more likely, such as gender, deprivation and ethnicity.
The council says its risk assessments will include accident statistics as well as the number of children using each crossing, both on their own and with an adult, the volume of traffic, the behaviour of motorists and the position of signs and road markings.
It is also talking to other boroughs which have made similar decisions to identify what other checks or measures might prove useful. Accidents statistics have also been compiled for 20 other crossings which have been phased out over the last decade.
There have been 13 incidents near the crossing on Beulah Hill since All Saints C of E Primary's lollipop patroller was scrapped in March 2009.
This included a 12-year-old who was knocked over after leaving school on May 31 last year. The schoolboy was seriously injured after stepping out from behind a parked car instead of using the zebra crossing.
Michaela Groves, All Saint's school manager, believes the school needs a lollipop patroller.
"We are situated between two very busy main roads – Church Road and Beulah Hill," she said.
"Each has a zebra crossing, however the flow and speed of traffic that uses these roads makes it virtually impossible to cross the road safely without traffic supervision.
"The zebra crossing in Church Road is currently manned by our lollipop man John Murphy. He does a fantastic job in making sure that our pupils and parents can cross this road safely while he is on duty.
"We fully support the Croydon Advertiser's campaign."
Cutting ten patrols would save the council £60,000 as part of larger plans to make £36 million in savings over the next two years.
A final decision about which crossings will go will be made in April.
INJURIES ON OR NEAR UNDER THREAT CROSSING PATROLS The school, type of crossing and number of accidents
- Elmwood Junior School, Lodge Road, Croydon; automated crossing*; eight
- Oasis Academy Shirley Park, Long Lane, Addiscombe; automated crossing; two injuries
- St John's/Shirley High, Shirley Church Road, Shirley; automated crossing; three
- Park Hill Junior School, Stanhope Road, Croydon; zebra crossing; five
- Broadmead Junior School, Sydenham Road, Croydon; zebra crossing; two
- Broadmead Junior School, The Crescent, Northcote Road; zebra crossing; five
- Woodside Junior School, Morland Road; zebra crossing; two injuries
- Woodside Junior School, Blackhorse Road; zebra crossing; two
- All Saints CofE Primary School, Upper Beulah Hill, Upper Norwood; zebra crossing; six
- Aerodrome Primary School, Goodwin Road, Croydon; zebra crossing; one