Schoolchildren took to the streets today in a national day of action to raise awareness of road safety, as horrifying statistics surrounding traffic deaths and injuries were highlighted.
More than 63,000 children of primary age took part in Brake’s Kids Walk with Shaun the Sheep, as 45 children are killed or injured every day on roads across the UK.
The national project, in partnership with the Ocado Foundation, saw Shaun and his flock help youngsters learn key road safety messages and call on grown-ups to make roads safer, so more children can enjoy the health and CO2-saving benefits of walking.
Shocking road safety figures
Road safety charity Brake highlighted the true extent of child casualties on the nation’s roads. Latest official figures show that 16,566 children were killed or injured on roads in the UK in 2017. On average, that means 45 children die or suffer injuries as a result of road crashes every single day.
Department for Transport (DfT) figures show that 14,226 children were killed or injured on roads in England in 2017, while Welsh Government statistics reveal there were 577 child road casualties during the same period. Transport Scotland says that 899 children were killed or injured on roads in Scotland in 2017, and numbers were similar for Northern Ireland, which reports 864 child road casualties in the same year.
Nearly 400 schools and nurseries took part in Brake’s Kids Walk, calling for five measures to help keep children safe near roads:
- cycle paths
- safe places to cross
- slow traffic
- clean traffic
Short, supervised walks are taking place today and all week at or around schools and nurseries. Children will walk in a crocodile formation and hold hands to highlight the importance of being able to walk without fear or threat from traffic. Some schools are teaming up with their local fire service or police.
Schools were also urged to run special road safety-themed assemblies, lessons and activities, using free resources featuring Shaun the Sheep and his friends. Funds were also raised for Brake, which supports families who have lost loved ones in road crashes.
Dave Nichols, community engagement manager for Brake, said: “Every child should be able to walk in their community without fear of traffic and pollution. Unfortunately, many kids are unable to do so because they don’t have access to simple measures such as footpaths, cycle paths and safe places to cross.
“Many more must contend with fast traffic and pollution from vehicle emissions. If we want children and their families to walk, we need to make sure their journeys are safe. We’re delighted that so many schools and children across the UK agree with us on this and are taking part in Brake’s Kids Walk. Together we can raise awareness about the issues that matter to them and help make their roads safer.”
Dorothy Pegg, assistant head at Seven Sisters Primary School in Tottenham, said: “Our school is delighted to take part in Brake’s Kids Walk with Shaun the Sheep and help raise awareness about how we can all make our roads safer. We’re passionate about encouraging our children to live healthy lifestyles, which includes walking in their local community. That’s why we support Brake’s call for footpaths, cycle paths, safe places to cross, slow traffic and clean traffic to help keep children safe near roads.”
Stuart Reid, Interim Director of Vision Zero at TfL, said: “We completely agree with these children – death and serious injuries on our roads is unacceptable. Children should be able to walk to school, play, and enjoy London without worry. We are committed to making streets across London safer, as part of our Vision Zero ambition, by improving dangerous junctions, implementing our new bus safety programme and working with schools on Junior Roadwatch.”
For more information on how your school can make getting to school safer, see brake.org.uk