Schoolchildren March For Safer Roads

12 June 2013, 09:59 | Updated: 12 June 2013, 10:04

1,400 children from 11 schools across the South Coast are marching for safer streets today as part of the charity Brake's Giant Walking Bus.

The youngsters from Hampshire, Dorset and West Sussex are joining more than 100,000 across the UK taking part in the event, which calls on drivers to 'GO 20' - slow down to 20 or below around homes, schools and shops - to protect kids on foot and enable more to walk.

The event also calls for more safety measures such as widespread 20 limits, pavements, paths and crossings.

In a survey by Brake, children explained their need for safer streets to enable them to get out more on foot and bike. It found:

-three quarters (76%) think more kids would be able to walk or cycle to school if roads were made safer

-half (48%) say their route to school needs to be made safer

-two in three (67%) want more paths, cycle paths and crossings in their neighbourhood they can use to walk or cycle to the park, shops or to see friends

-three in 10 (29%) report being scared by traffic when walking or cycling in their neighbourhood.

The GO 20 campaign - by Brake and a coalition of charities - calls for 20mph to become the norm in built-up areas, and appeals to drivers to slow down, to make roads safer for kids and adults on foot and bike. A recent World Health Organisation report on pedestrian safety urged widespread 20mph limits where people live, as they are proven to reduce casualties and encourage walking and cycling.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, the road safety charity, said:

"Many parents are in a difficult situation when it comes to letting their kids walk or cycle, often forced to weigh up the benefits of their kids being active and getting out and about with the risk of their child being knocked down and hurt.

"We need to make it easier for them by making roads safer for children and people of all ages, to help kids have the fun, active childhood they deserve - and a proven way to do this is to reduce traffic speeds.

"We're appealing to drivers to listen to the thousands of kids marching today, and take the simple step of slowing down to 20mph or less around homes, schools and shops. It's a case of putting kids before getting there a few minutes faster. We're also urging the government - and more local authorities in the South - to work towards 20mph being the norm across all our communities, to help kids walk without being put in danger."