More than 100,000 children from across the UK are expected to take to the streets today (13 June) to raise awareness of the 39 children who are killed or injured on England’s roads every day.
Brake’s Kids Walk – previously known as the Giant Walk – is an annual event which aims to educate children about the potential dangers they face on their journey to school.
To mark this year’s walk, Brake has ‘highlighted the true extent of child casualties on the nation’s roads’ by analysing the latest DfT child casualty figures.
Published in September 2017, the figures show that 14,273 children were killed or injured on roads in England in 2016, an average of 39 children each day – or the equivalent of a full classroom.
The highest number of child casualties was recorded in the South East (2,343), while the lowest total was in the North East (702). 15 children were killed on roads in the North West during 2016, a national high.
As part of the event, schools and nurseries will participate in short, supervised walks. 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.
More than 100,000 children from 500 schools and nurseries are expected to take part, calling for five measures to help keep them safe: footpaths, cycle paths, safe places to cross, slow traffic and clean traffic.
Among these are 450 pupils from Carr Hill Primary School in Retford, Nottinghamshire. The school is running a week of road safety activities in memory of pupil Seth Bartle, 10, who died after he was hit by a car outside the school in January.
Vanessa Smith, parent link teacher at Carr Hill Primary School, said: “While we encourage people to walk to school, many of our families do live some distance away and so our emphasis is on safe and considerate parking outside the school, encouraging people to think about moral responsibility to each other and the children at dropping-off and picking-up time.
“We are asking people to walk where they can or, if they must drive, then to park a little further away and increase their footsteps. We hope the pupils will go home and encourage their grown-ups to park further away then walk.
Dave Nichols, community engagement manager for Brake, said: “It is every child’s right to be able to walk in their community without fear of traffic and pollution. But 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 have to contend with fast traffic and pollution from vehicle emissions. If we want more children and their families to walk, then 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.”