Seven in ten want action to make school run safer

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Two thirds of people believe pedestrian routes to school need to be made safer.

Nearly three quarters of people also believe more children would walk or cycle to school if the routes were less dangerous.

And nearly 40 per cent say traffic levels have left them scared to walk or cycle around their own neighbourhood.

The opinions were revealed in a survey for road safety charity Brake carried out to mark its annual Giant Walk event.

The Giant Walk sees thousands of children across the UK holding walking events to support road safety and highlight the benefits that walking and cycling can bring. It also aims to remind people that fast and dangerous driving can put young lives at risk, and encourage drivers to slow down and look out for people on foot and bike.

According to Brake, half of all children in the UK are driven to school and it is calling for better provision for pedestrians and cyclists to keep them safe and encourage more people out of their cars. Its view is backed by the majority of people, with 65 per cent of respondents to the survey agreeing more needed to be done to improve safety on routes to schools.

Brake argues that lower speed limits, wider pavements, dedicated cycle lanes and more safe crossing places are all instrumental in achieving this.

In 2014, 53 children were killed and 2,029 seriously injured on British roads. In 80 per cent of cases the child was on foot or bicycle at the time.

Sixty-seven per cent of people surveyed felt more dedicated walking and cycle paths should be introduced to offer better protection from motor vehicles. And 72 per cent said they thought this would have the added benefit of encouraging more children to walk or cycle.

The charity is also calling for lower speed limits, pointing to research that showed a 42 per cent reduction in accidents when 20mph speed limits were introduced at 75 sites in Scotland. Despite this, only 28 per cent of those survey believed lower speed limits would improve children’s safety, with far more pointing to designated pedestrian and cycle areas as key.

Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns at Brake, said: “Brake’s Giant Walk is a terrific opportunity to educate children about the importance of road safety and what advantages there are in walking to school for their own health and the environment. It is also a call on local drivers to make a big difference by slowing down to protect children on foot and bike. We’re urging schools to sign up now to take full advantage of the resources and support Brake offers to help schools get involved.”