Primary schools urged to march for safer roads for walking to halt four children a day being seriously hurt on foot

28 January 2014

Brake, the road safety charity

Schools are being urged to register now for the UK's giant safe walking event, Giant Walking Bus, and get free resources and support from Brake to help them promote and teach road safety on the day and year-round.

At 10am on Wednesday 11 June, tens of thousands of children across the UK will simultaneously march for safer roads, saying yes to fun, healthy walking and no to people driving fast in their community.

Giant Walking Bus is co-ordinated annually by Brake, the road safety charity, with support from Schools take children on a short supervised march, with children walking in a crocodile and holding hands, promoting the importance of children being able to walk without fear or threat from traffic.

The event can be used to teach children about road safety, promote life-saving messages to parents and the community, and launch campaigns for safer streets, using info and resources from Brake. It also raises funds for Brake's work to improve road safety and care for families devastated by a death or injury on roads, as most schools fundraise on the day.

This year's event will particularly call on drivers to 'GO 20' – to protect children on foot and bike by slowing down to 20mph around schools, homes and shops.

Giant Walking Bus empowers children and schools to make their communities safer, healthier, and greener, while preventing devastating child casualties. Four children are seriously hurt or killed while walking in the UK every day[1]. At the same time, more and more children are being driven to school, and fewer are walking (now less than half) increasing pollution and danger, and affecting health[2].

REGISTER NOW! Brake is urging primary schools to join over 100 already-registered schools and sign up now to take full advantage of support and resources available from Brake in the run-up: register interest online at, call 01484 559909 or email

Three giant reasons to march:

  • Learning about road safety and active travel: kids can research road risks and transport choices in their area, and make their own 'slow down' and 'get walking' placards and other creative materials. It's a great way to meet safety and citizenship goals and promote travel plans or a healthy or eco school status.
  • Slow down drivers and get kids walking: the march gives kids a voice, helping them tell drivers to slow down and look out for kids. It supports Brake's national GO 20 campaign and can be used by schools to campaign for local road safety measures[3]. Brake can help schools get coverage in local media, and promote the event in their newsletter or website to get the road safety message out.
  • Help bereaved and injured families: kids can be sponsored to take part, orschools can fundraise in other ways, helping Brake's road safety campaigns and services for families bereaved and injured by road crashes.

Julie Townsend, Brake deputy chief executive, says: "The Giant Walking Bus is a brilliant event for schools to promote children's right to be able to walk without fear or threat from traffic. It's a chance to teach kids about road safety and why walking is healthy and eco-friendly. It's also about showing your local community why kids' safety on foot is so vital, and how local drivers can make a big difference by slowing down. In short, Giant Walking Bus can give children a voice to make a difference to road safety in their community and enthuse them about active travel. Sign up now to join the hundreds of other schools taking advantage of the free resources and support Brake offers to help schools get involved."

Richard Evans, head of technical services at, says: "As the nation's biggest purchaser of cars, we take our responsibilities to road users and pedestrians very seriously. We are long-term partners of Brake and with their help have worked with schools across the country to campaign for safer roads. Our 2013 competition to design a GO20 banner saw us engage with thousands of primary school children across the UK. Having seen the great impact that the national GO20 campaign and its messages has had on local communities, we are excited to be supporting Brake and the Walking Bus this year, to enable parents, teachers and children to sign up and spread the message further than ever."

The facts about children's safety on foot

In 2012, 20 children were mown down while walking and killed, leaving behind devastated and traumatised families. A further 1,525 were knocked down and seriously injured, some suffering life-changing injuries like paralysis and limb loss[4]. That's 30 children on foot seriously hurt or killed every week. The UK lags well behind many of its European neighbours in protecting children on foot, showing that much more could be done to enable children to walk safely.

Notes for editors

About Giant Walking Bus
Giant Walking Bus is an annual event coordinated by Brake, with primary school children around the UK walking simultaneously in a supervised group around their school or school grounds, while learning about and promoting safe walking. Schools get free road safety resources and can choose to raise funds for Brake. In the run up and on the day, kids can learn about traffic danger and transport choices and create placards and posters. Brake carries out publicity around the event to promote the importance of children being able to walk safely, and calling on drivers to slow down. The event raises thousands for Brake's work supporting families bereaved or injured by road crashes and campaigning for safer roads. Over the past six years almost 600,000 children have taken part in the march for road safety.

About the GO 20 campaign
Why Brake wants all our communities to GO 20:

  • Fewer casualties: at 20, drivers have much more time to react and half the stopping distance than at 30, crucial if they need to stop if a child runs out. Studies show that when 20 limits replace 30, it means fewer casualties among both pedestrians and cyclists[5].
  • More walking and cycling: danger from traffic is a major barrier in enabling more people to walk and cycle. Town and city-wide 20 limits have resulted in more people walking and cycling[6].
  • Healthier, happier people: More walking and cycling means healthier people, and more enjoyable outdoors activity for kids and adults. It helps streets socialise and become communities.
  • Less pollution: GOing 20 means lower emissions from vehicle journeys[7]. Plus if more people can switch their commute or school run to foot or bike, it means less polluting traffic.
  • Lower costs: Poor health from inactivity is a massive expense in our society[8]. Road casualties cost even more, due to the suffering and burden on health and emergency services[9]. Preventing casualties and improving health means GOing 20 can pay for itself ten times over[10]. It also helps people save money, feeling safer in choosing the cheapest ways to get about: foot and bike.

Read more about the case for GO 20.

About 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.


  • As the UK's favourite car buying service, takes its responsibility to road safety very seriously. Committed to protecting the lives of the UK's most vulnerable road users, it is a proud sponsor of Brake, the road safety charity.
  • The last twelve months has seen launch with Brake's support a number of road safety initiatives designed to protect our youngest road users. They include: 'See Me Stay Safe', a high vis vest giveaway for children aged 4-7; the GO 20 Competition for primary schools, challenging students to design a banner encouraging drivers to slow down to save lives; and, a site created for the public to donate old Toy Tikes to selected branches in return for a donation to be made from the company to Brake. All's employees are additionally signed up to Brake's Fleet Safety
  • Forum and are committed to a series of fundraising events throughout 2014.
  • offers people a third way to sell their car, without the pressure of going to a dealer or the hassle of selling it privately.
  • It operates a simple three-step process:
    • Quick online valuation, offering customers a quote based on real-time pricing and the information provided on their car.
    • An easy-to-book appointment service, providing times that is convenient and work to customers' schedules.
    • A safe sale completed at a local branch manned by a friendly, approachable car buying expert.
  • only sells through commercial channels.
  • The business started in 2006.

End Notes
[1] Statistics for Reported casualties and casualty rates by month, road user type and severity, Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2012 Annual Report, Department for Transport, 2013
[2] National Travel Survey: 2012, Department for Transport, 2013
[3] Through Giant Walking Bus Whittle-le-Woods Primary School successfully campaigned for a 20mph limit around their school, Giant Walking Bus Evaluation Report, Brake, 2013
[4] Statistics for Reported casualties and casualty rates by month, road user type and severity, Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2012 Annual Report, Department for Transport, 2013
[5] 20mph speed reduction initiative, Scottish Executive Central Research Unit, 2001; 20mph Speed Limit Pilots Evaluation Report, Warrington Borough Council, 2010
[6] Where widespread 20 limits have been introduced levels of walking and cycling increased by 20% Citywide Rollout of 20mph speed limits, Bristol City Council Cabinet, 2012
[7] Environmental effects of 30 km/h in urban areas – with regard to exhaust emissions and noise, The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, 1999
[8] Each death on British roads cost £1.7 million in 2011, while each serious injury costs £190,000, including costs to the NHS, emergency services and costs to families. Reported road casualties Great Britain 2011, Department for Transport, 2012
[9] Physical activity reduces premature death from 30% to 20% - that is at least five a week - evidence on the impact of physical activity and its relationship to health - a report from the Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, 2004
[10] In Bristol, 20mph resulted in a massive return on investment because of the cost savings to the health service through increased physical activity. They used the World Health Organisation's Health Economic Assessment Tool to estimate the changes in cost to health as a result of 20mph. They found for every £1 spent they saw a return of £24.72 through increased walking and £7.47 through increased in cycling. Citywide Rollout of 20mph speed limits, Bristol City Council Cabinet, 2012

Tags: Go 20 school children Giant Walk