Edinburgh pupil Thomas Wong's tragic death: Golf club takes safety measures following accident

Cramond Primary pupil Thomas Wong, 11, died after being hit by a bin lorry as he cycled to school.Cramond Primary pupil Thomas Wong, 11, died after being hit by a bin lorry as he cycled to school.
Cramond Primary pupil Thomas Wong, 11, died after being hit by a bin lorry as he cycled to school.
Large hedge removed to increase visibility

One of Edinburgh’s top golf clubs is taking measures to increase safety after the tragic death of a primary school pupil on a road nearby.

Thomas Wong, 11, died after he was struck by a bin lorry in Whitehouse Road in Barnton as he cycled to Cramond Primary School. The collision occurred on March 1 as the bin lorry exited from the car park of the world's oldest golf club, the Royal Burgess Golf Club (RBGC), on to the main road.

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RBGC has now removed a large hedge in a bid to increase visibility at the exit from its car park in the first of several measures to be implemented following completion of a police reconstruction at the scene of the accident last weekend.

The golf club, which is looking at improved signage and speed measures, has also requested that waste collections and other HGV operations avoid times when children are travelling to and from school.

Graham Callander, general manager of the RBGC, said: "We are actively working with both the police and local council and whatever recommendations they have we will actively work with them to put in place as soon as possible.

"The first (recommendation) was to trim back the hedge to give a little bit more visibility coming out of the car park and we decided it was more significant to take it down entirely.

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"We have asked the contractors to try and avoid coming to us during peak times, and we are looking at other measures as well. Anything we can do to make it safer we are happy to comply."

Edinburgh councillors have vowed to do everything possible to prevent a repeat of the tragedy, and Lib Dem councillor Kevin Lang, who represents the area, recently outlined changes that could be made in an update to locals.

In addition to the removal of the hedge at the exit of the golf club to improve sightlines, improved signage is expected including new painted stop road markings and stop signage on existing sign poles.

Speed humps are to be installed to reduce vehicle speeds on exit, while road officers are also looking at installing "tactile mats" at either side of the exit and making it a continuous footway to show pedestrians have right of way, with temporary signage in the interim.

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Cllr Lang said that a possible reduction in the speed limit on Whitehouse Road to 20mph was being looked at, while a reduction from 40mph to 30mph on nearby Queensferry Road will be implemented in the coming weeks.

Proposals are also being developed to improve infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists on Whitehouse Road and at the nearby Barnton junction, while the parking layout at shops yards from the site of the tragedy could be revised to improve pedestrian access. Changes in the wider area will include a "School Travel Plan" around Cramond Primary School.

Over 100 people from the community have volunteered to be part of a Cramond and Barnton Safety Action Group established, by Cllr Lang, which he said "underlined the determination among local people to see positive action being taken".

After his death, Thomas's family described him as "the perfect son" and said they were "utterly heartbroken". In a statement after the tragedy, they said: "He was the best little brother to his older sister and was adored by all his family. Thomas went to Cramond Primary School, which he loved. He made good friends there. We will all miss him terribly. We are very grateful for all the sympathy and heartfelt messages we have received from people. Thank you.”

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Cramond Primary head teacher Helen Donaldson said: "He was kind and always eager to support others, and will be greatly missed by all of us."The tragedy shocked local people and hundreds of floral tributes lined the pavement for days afterwards.

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