Parents and children are being urged to make safety their number priority as the new school year begins.
Breakdown and road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist says it’s vital that everyone – from toddler to senior citizen – is aware of the risks that go with using our roads.
More than 130 children die, and another 4,500 are seriously injured every year while cycling or walking on the UK’s roads, according to official figures. What’s more, 20% of all injuries occur on school journeys.
“Every child needs to learn how to use the roads safely, whether walking or cycling, and later when driving,” said GEM road safety officer Neil Worth.
“But road accidents remain a leading cause of accidental death for children, and we know they can cause life-changing injuries. Figures show that pedestrian casualties peak at the age of 11 to 12. For cyclists, the most vulnerable age is 14.
“That’s why it is so important for us all to take responsibility – not just for our own safety but for the safety of any children who share the roads with us – and find ways to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries.
“So as another school year begins, we encourage all parents, guardians, teachers, carers and older siblings to play their part in helping children to use the roads with respect, to recognise the risks they face and to understand effective ways of minimising those risks.”
GEM’s top tips for the new school year
- It’s cool to be bright: kit your kids out with high visibility fluorescent or reflective jackets, vests or belts.
- If you drive to school, please allow plenty of time to park safely and legally. Don’t pull up on zig-zag lines outside a school, and respect local residents by not blocking driveways and access points.
- Find out about any local safe walking initiatives that may operate at your child’s school. Team up with neighbours and walk together.
- Brush up your knowledge of the Highway Code, and establish safe routes and safe places to cross any roads.
- Respect speed limits. Many areas around schools are subject to 20mph speed limits (either permanent or timed), and you will face a £100 fine and three points on your licence if you are caught speeding.
- Respect the crossing patrol. Be patient and always be prepared to stop. Remember, it’s an offence not to stop at a patrol’s signal.
- If you drive older children but they don’t need escorting into the school premises, always make sure they get out of the car in a safe location, and never let them step out into the road instead of the pavement.