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2014-06-11 08:37

GO 20:The road safety charity Brake has an ongoing 'Giant Walking Bus' campaign which aims to promote safety and a healthy lifestyle by having schoolchildren walk to school. Image: Brake.

LONDON, England - More than 100 000 children from 600 schools across Britain will take to the streets today (June 11 2014) to demand that vehicle drivers - and the government - make walking and cycling safer for them.

The project is called the Giant Walking Bus* and is being co-ordinated by road-safety charity Brake and a car-sales website.

A survey of almost 5000 children showed their desire "to get out and about more on foot and bike and for safer streets to allow us to do so". The survey also showed that:

  • 76% of students wanted to walk and cycle to school, go to a park or visit friends.
  • 56% worried they might be run over while walking or cycling.
  • 81% thought vehicles should slow when passing their school or home.

Brake points out that 30% of children in England aged two to 15 are overweight or obese and that building cycling and/or walking into their day would combat this. Almost half of all primary-school children in the UK are driven to school.

Nevertheless, in 2012 33 were killed and 1836 seriously injured while walking or cycling.


Brake is also calling on drivers and the government to make streets safer for children by supporting its 'Go 20'campaign by slowing to 20 miles per hour (30km/h) near schools and through villages.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: "The thousands of kids out on the streets today should send a clear message to everybody: they want to get out and walk and cycle. By failing to make the streets safe we are denying them the fun, active childhood they deserve."

About the Giant Walking Bus: It's an annual national event co-ordinated by Brake through which primary-school children learn about road safety, traffic pollution and transport choices. Schools get their pupils to march as part of a supervised group, holding hands on safe pavements or around the school's grounds.

The objective is to give children a voice. Children can be sponsored to take part to help fund Brake's road safety campaigns and support services for families bereaved and injured by road crashes.

About the 'Go 20' campaign: It's a coalition to make 20mph (30km/h) the norm where people live, work, and play and in city, town and village centres. It calls on government to make it the national urban default (it's currently 30mph/50km/h, encourages local authorities to implement their own 20mph schemes and urges drivers to be responsible enough to 'go 20' or less wherever there may be people on foot or bicycle.

Advice for parents: Deciding at what age to let children walk or cycle to school unsupervised is a difficult decision. Research shows that many are put off by traffic danger. Answers: Perhaps walk with them or set up your own "walking bus" with other parents.

Read more on:    england  |  london  |  speed limit

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