Brake asks for politicians’ help

Brake has added its voice to the call of organisations around the world to #SaveKidsLives as part of the United Nations’ third Global Road Safety Week (4-10 May 2015).

In the run up to the UK general election on 7 May, through its GO 20 campaign, Brake is calling on all parties to commit to a 20mph default urban speed limit as the best way to protect children and enable them to enjoy walking and cycling without fear.

Brake, supported by tyre manufacturer Bridgestone, is revealing survey results showing widespread support among parents for a 20mph urban speed limit, which is even higher among those who have already experienced the benefits. Four in five parents (79%) who already live in widespread 20mph areas support changing the default, compared with seven in 10 (72%) in non-20mph areas. Parents who say they ‘strongly’ agree with the idea goes up from one in five (22%) to two in five (42%) among those who live in a 20mph area.

Children stand to benefit greatly from 20mph limits, as they are among our most vulnerable road users and unable to judge the speed of traffic above this speed. The World Health Organisation is clear about the importance of 20mph limits in making walking and cycling safer for children and adults.

‘GOing 20’ in the UK can help stop our kids becoming part of horrifying statistics: globally, 500 children are killed on roads every day, and thousands more injured. The UK has just witnessed its first rolling year increase in child road casualties in 20 years, with 16,640 casualties of all severities and 2,060 killed or seriously injured in the year ending September 2014. Increasingly local authorities are switching to 20 limits – it’s estimated 14 million people now live in these areas – but Brake wants to see safer streets everywhere.

As well as calling for government action, Brake is asking all drivers to make their own personal commitment to the #SaveKidsLives campaign by pledging to stick to 20mph or below around homes, schools and shops. This gives drivers twice as much time to react in an emergency as at 30mph, for instance if a child steps out unexpectedly.

Anyone can also show their commitment to the #SaveKidsLives campaign by signing the Child Declaration for Road Safety at www.savekidslives2015.org. Brake is also urging people to back the UK’s GO 20 campaign at brake.org.uk/go20.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said, ‘It is a global travesty that so many children around the world are killed and injured on roads every day, and denied their right to safe, healthy, active travel. Even in the UK, a developed country with a comparatively good road safety record, thousands of children are killed and seriously injured every year, and the figures are now going in the wrong direction. As the #SaveKidsLives campaign makes clear, we need meaningful, sustained, long-term action to create a better world for our children, both in the UK and across the globe. We are appealing to UK drivers to do their bit by GOing 20 in communities, and to the UK government to change the national default urban speed limit to 20mph.’

Tyre manufacturer Bridgestone, who are sponsoring Brake’s GO 20 campaign, added their support. Consumer sales and marketing director Farrell Dolan said, ‘The increase in child road casualties is alarming and the statistics are a big cause for concern. We are big supporters of Brake’s efforts to reduce these figures through their GO 20 campaign.

‘We are thrilled to be official sponsors of this initiative and we can’t wait to get to work. Bridgestone is putting its name alongside a hugely respected charity which carries out a great deal of selfless work. We echo Brake’s call to drivers to stick to 20mph or below around homes, schools and shops.’

Brake is the long-running coordinator of the UK’s national Road Safety Week, every November, involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations. Anyone can register to be a part of this huge awareness-raising event at www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk.