A new initiative has been launched in Berkshire in a bid to prepare children for the ‘significant increase in risk’ associated with independent travel.
‘Bikes, Big Trucks & You’, developed by Safer Roads Berkshire and supported by Royal Mail, focuses on the risks associated with walking and cycling near to large goods vehicles.
A suite of new resources are being piloted during summer 2016, and Safer Roads Berkshire says initial sessions in schools are already proving effective in terms of improving knowledge on issues including road position, visibility, understanding driver blind spots and the safest locations to cross the road.
The classroom sessions include the chance for children to sit in the cab of a Royal Mail truck to help them see things from the driver’s perspective.
Cheryl Evans, West Berkshire Council’s senior RSO, said: “It is clear that we are helping to shape the knowledge of the children taking part.
“When comparing their knowledge before and after the sessions we can see a 163% improvement in identification of Toucan crossings as safer place to cross with bike, a 77% increase in knowledge of a safe position to ride, and a 250% improvement in awareness of risks associated with filtering up the inside of an HGV.”
Dan Campsall, communications director for Safer Roads Berkshire, said: “Whilst similar schemes have been developed in other areas, we wanted to be able to measure the impact on the children involved.
“As such, we sought out a commercial partner who would work with us to develop safer road users through an evaluated programme that could demonstrate specific outcomes. We believe Bikes, Big Trucks & You is showing good signs of delivering on those aims.”