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‘Cut speeding traffic around UK schools’ say parents

Traffic speeds should be cut around all UK schools, as parents say that roads are simply not safe for their children to walk to school.

Research by road safety charity Brake shows that more than three-quarters (78 per cent) of parents and carers questioned would like roads near their home and children’s schools to have a speed limit of 20mph.

And crucially, the vast majority – some 85 per cent – said they want to see the Government do more to make roads safer in their particular community.

Of the 2,000+ parents and carers of primary schoolchildren were questioned, more than two-thirds (69 per cent) would like their children to walk or wheel to school more often, yet over a third (39 per cent) say they can’t because the roads are too busy and a quarter (24 per cent) believe that vehicles are simply being driven too fast.

Brake’s call for action coincided with its Kids Walk event, which saw around 80,000 children aged between four and 11, from more than 700 schools and youth organisations make their voices heard about being able to take safe and healthy journeys to and from school.

Lucy Straker, campaigns manager at Brake, said: “We all want children to be able to travel to and from school safely. But sadly, every day, more than 16 primary schoolchildren are harmed on our roads. We know that excess speed is a factor in about a quarter of fatal crashes – and the physics is pretty straightforward: the faster a vehicle is travelling, the harder it hits and the greater the impact.

“Evidence shows us that by lowering the speed limits and reducing the number of vehicles on our roads, we also reduce the risk of people being harmed. This new research from Brake also shows us that people want 20mph speed limits around their homes and their children’s schools.

“So, we call on the future leaders of our country to prioritise safety on roads across our communities, by implementing 20mph as the default speed limit on roads in residential and built-up areas. We must keep our children safe,” she added.

Government figures show that 6,075 children aged 4–11 were harmed on UK roads in 2022. Of these, 16 children lost their lives, and a further 1,113 suffered serious injuries  Brake says that this means, on average, more than 16 primary schoolchildren are harmed on UK roads every single day – the equivalent of a whole classroom of children every two days. A total of 2,457 children aged 4–11 were harmed while walking, 484 while cycling and 2,859 children while travelling by car.

The schoolchildren who took part in Brake’s Kids Walk completed a short, supervised walk around their schools and/or communities, while carrying banners and posters to help raise awareness of the five things they need to help keep them safe near roads: slower traffic, cleaner traffic, better footpaths, better cycle paths, and safe places to cross.

Author: Simon Weedy

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