Zak the Zebra visits St. Peter’s Primary School to support campaign for safe crossings

14 February 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

Zak the Zebra, mascot of road safety charity Brake, has galloped into South Portslade, Brighton. Thanks to sponsorship from Royal HaskoningDHV, Zak is supporting a community campaign for crossings and safer streets around St. Peter's Primary School.

Parents and teachers at St Peter's Primary are concerned about pupils' ability to walk safely to school along the busy Church Road and St. Andrews Road. The route is notorious; there have been numerous incidents and near misses. Church Road is heavily used by HGVs travelling from Shoreham Harbour to the A27, while St. Andrews is a main bus route with a 30mph limit, which campaigners say often suffers from speeding traffic. St. Peter's Primary School is set to double its intake over the next three years, and fears are growing of a tragedy being around the corner.

South Portslade Safe Roads Campaign, started in April 2013, has collected over 800 signatures on a petition for new crossing points and other safety improvements to protect pupils and local residents from traffic, including signs, barriers and greater driver compliance with the 20mph speed limit on Church Road.

In spring 2013, Brighton and Hove City Council's road safety team said there was not enough traffic to make a crossing necessary. However, campaigners believe the assessment was not done at the busy and dangerous time of day that children walk to school and called for another assessment that properly considers the dangers to school children.

An informal assessment by supportive councillors in November 2013 suggested the amount of traffic and pedestrians on Church Road warrants a pelican crossing [1]. The council's road safety team has now met with the community and a new assessment is underway. Hopes are high for a positive result.

As part of the campaign, a fun Beep Beep! Day will be taking place at the school on Friday 14 February as part of a national initiative by Brake to raise road safety awareness. Pupils will write letters to the council explaining why they need a crossing, and local police and road safety officers will give talks on road safety, including safety around HGVs. The day will also feature a poster contest with the Mayor presenting an award to the winning young artist, and a bake sale raising money for Brake. Brake's mascot Zak the Zebra will be there to meet the kids and show his support.

Ed Morrow, campaigns officer, Brake, the road safety charity, said: "Everybody has the right to walk or cycle in their own communities without fear or threat of being knocked down by traffic; this should always be the first and most important consideration in designing our streets. Children especially should be free to walk to school, visit their friends and play, and their parents should not be afraid to let them have a healthy, active lifestyle. That is why campaigns like this are so important, and we are delighted that our mascot Zak the Zebra is able to come along and show his support for safe crossings and safer streets in the area around St. Peter's Primary School."

Rae Powers, head of South Portslade Safe Roads Campaign, said: "We are thrilled to have the support of Brake and Zak the Zebra! Our children will enjoy a fun and educational day while the community of South Portslade and St. Peters School continues to make progress on our campaign for safer roads. We feel confident that our relentless efforts will pay off, and the council will listen and act on our concerns, so that we will no longer have to walk in fear to the park and school."

Stephen Bibb, principal transport planner, Royal HaskoningDHV, said: "We are proud to support Brake in their community campaigns for safer roads. We believe that road safety should be proactive and these campaigns are not only important in educating communities but they also support local authorities in helping to prevent needless deaths and injuries on our roads, which devastate too many lives. By supporting Brake's Zak the Zebra campaign, we hope we can help people campaigning on the front line to make our roads safer, more inclusive and sustainable environments for everyone."

Notes for editors

Brake
Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 63 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (17-23 November 2014), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to companies. Brake's support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Zak the Zebra
To receive support and advice from Brake and Zak the Zebra on campaigning for safer roads locally, community members can report their road safety concerns or campaigns at www.zakthezebra.org. Alternatively, they can call Zak's hotline number, 08000 68 77 80. The hotline is sponsored by Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, corporate partners of Brake.

Regional Managing Partner at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, Grahame Codd, said: "As personal injury solicitors we are well aware of how road crashes can devastate lives. We are providing the Zak the Zebra hotline to hopefully reduce the shocking number of child casualties on our roads."

Royal HaskoningDHV
Royal HaskoningDHV is an independent, international engineering and project management consultancy with more than 130 years of experience. Providing services in aviation, buildings, energy, industry, infrastructure, maritime, mining, rural areas, urban areas and water all over the world. By showing leadership in sustainable development and innovation, together with our clients, we are working to become part of the solution to a more sustainable society now and into the future.

End notes
[1] PV squared value assessment carried out by Cllr Alan Robins and Audit and Standards Committee Chairman Leslie Hamilton on 13 November 2013 calculated a value of 1.19x10 (8th power).