Last reviewed 3 November 2023

Road Safety Week, the UK’s biggest annual road safety campaign, is an initiative of the charity Break. This year it runs from 19 to 25 November and has the theme “Let’s talk about speed”.

Driving faster than the speed limit, or too fast for prevailing road conditions, raises the risk that someone might be killed or injured on the road. Also, the greater the speed, the longer the stopping distance of the vehicle. Police records indicate that excessive speed is a contributory factor in 25% of deaths.

Data shows that pedestrians hit by vehicles travelling at 20mph are likely to survive, while if the vehicle is travelling at 30mph or more, they are likely to die. This is of great importance as far as schools are concerned and in areas close to schools it is quite usual to have 20mph speed limits.

Travelling safely to school

There continues to be a progressive increase in the number of children walking or cycling to school. In 2021 it was reported that 45% of children walked to school, while 3% cycled, but RoSPA reports that at 9am, one in four cars is on a school run.

It is estimated that families could save £400 a year by not driving their children to school and this would help to solve the perennial problems that schools face when large numbers of cars arrive at the same time at the beginning and end of each day to drop off or pick up children.

Where children are cycling there are additional safety implications, and it is quite usual for schools to insist that children need to have passed Level 2 Bikeability training before they are allowed to cycle to school. Training can usually be arranged through the local authority.

Bikeability training is offered at three levels. Level 1 is targeted at the seven to nine year-olds and is something of an introduction. Level 2 is aimed at nine to 11 year-olds and following training on the school playground, this will extend to going out on the road.

Level 3 is targeted at secondary age pupils and covers more advanced skills that are targeted to individuals on a one-to-one or small group basis.

Small children usually walk to school holding hands, but as they grow older, many like to scooter to school, and since this involves using pavements, children need to be made aware of potential danger spots where traffic might cross a pavement, such as driveways where cars might be reversing out.

Parents should always talk to their children about safety on pavements, not stepping into the road and taking care at crossing points. This should extend to talking to them about safe scootering.

Brake can provide schools with teaching resources to run projects with children and young people of all ages to raise awareness of key road safety issues. This ranges from safety lessons and assemblies to campaigns for safe local streets. See here for more details.