More than 100,000 children from over 600 schools across the UK are expected to take to the streets today as part of the Giant Walking Bus, an initiative coordinated by Brake, the road safety charity.
The Giant Walking Bus is an annual national event through which primary school children learn about road safety, traffic pollution, and transport choices.
Participating schools get their pupils to march as part of a supervised group, holding hands on safe pavements or around the school’s grounds.
Brake says the objective is to “give children a voice, helping them tell drivers to slow down and look out for people on foot and bike”.
In a survey of almost 5,000 children carried out by Brake, 76% of respondents said they would like to walk and cycle more. However, 56% worry they might be run over by traffic when walking or cycling on roads, and 81% said drivers should go slower around their school or home.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive at Brake, said: "The thousands of kids out on the streets today should send a clear message to everyone: kids want to be able to get out and walk and cycle, and by not making our streets safe, we are denying them the fun, active childhoods they deserve.
“This has serious implications for their long-term health and wellbeing, the burden on our NHS, the environment, and our society as a whole.
“If we are going to create an environment fit for our children we need to put them – not motor vehicles – first.
“We are appealing to drivers to slow down to 20mph or less around homes, schools and shops, to local authorities to continue rolling out 20mph limits, and to national Government to make 20mph the national urban default.
“We need to make sure our kids and people of all ages – not just the lucky few – can walk and cycle without being endangered."