Charity calls for safer streets for families, as survey reveals walking and cycling worries

Friday 26 September 2014

Brake, the road safety charity 

The charity Brake and Churchill Insurance are appealing for safer streets for families, as their survey out today finds two thirds (64%) of the driving public think local roads are at least partially unsafe for families to walk and cycle. The findings come as thousands of tots across the country gear up to take part in Brake and Churchill's national road safety project for nurseries and pre-schools, Beep Beep! Day, as part of a campaign to save little lives.

Brake and Churchill's survey of 1,000 drivers also finds:

  • Almost one in six (16%) have had a near miss with someone on foot or bike in the past 12 months;
  • More than three in five (62%) themselves worry about being hit by traffic when they're on foot in their area.

As thousands of youngsters start learning about the risks on roads, Brake and Churchill are issuing an appeal to drivers to realise that children's safety is in their hands and join their movement to save little lives. In particular, they are highlighting that drivers can make a huge difference to the safety of families on foot and bike by slowing down to 20mph around nurseries, homes, schools and shops.

Beep Beep! Days involve children aged two to seven at pre-schools, nurseries, and children's centres learning the road safety basics through fun activities, and raising awareness among parents and drivers about keeping kids safe, using advice and resources from Brake. Most Beep Beep! Days happen in the autumn, and more than 32,500 children are registered to take part over the coming months. Nurseries can find out more and register at

Concerns about family road safety are justified: traffic is the second biggest killer of children in the UK, and the biggest non-medical killer [1]. In 2013, 48 children were killed and 1,932 seriously injured on UK roads: that's five under-16s seriously hurt or killed each day [2]. The overwhelming majority of children killed or seriously injured on roads (83%) are on foot or bike [3].

As well as calling on drivers to slow down to help protect families, Brake is also campaigning for a safer road environment for kids and adults on foot and bike through its GO 20 campaign.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "It's vital we make our roads safer for families and people of all ages to walk and cycle, and drivers can help bring this about. It is unacceptable that five children are seriously injured or killed each day on our roads, and it is unacceptable to deny any child a healthy, active upbringing because of local dangers. Our survey reveals that drivers acknowledge the risks families face on roads – but we also need drivers to realise the difference they personally can made, and always drive as though a child could run out unexpectedly. As thousands of tots gear up to take part in a Beep Beep! Day this autumn, to start learning about dangers on roads, we're appealing to drivers everywhere to help reduce those dangers: slow down to 20mph in communities to help save little lives. We're also urging more pre-schools and nursery to register to be part of this important project."

Gus Park, director of Churchill Car Insurance, said: "We are very proud to be supporting Beep Beep! Day once again this year. Too many children die or are seriously injured on our roads each day. Beep Beep! Day is a great way of starting to educate young children on road safety, as well as raising awareness among drivers, including parents and grandparents, of the need to drive with extreme care when young children are about."

REGISTER! Nurseries, playgroups, childminders, infant schools and children's centres can sign up now to run a Beep Beep! Day and receive a FREE bumper resource pack, including posters, stickers and activity ideas. Go to, call 01484 550061 or email

About Beep Beep! Day
In 2013, 27,000 children took part in a Beep Beep! Day. Nurseries, playgroups, children's centres and childminders can run a Beep Beep! Day on whatever day is best for them, although most take place during the autumn, including many in Road Safety Week (17-23 November 2014). Nurseries receive a pack of resources to help them run road safety activities and promote road safety to parents and the community.

Beep Beep! Days involve activities such as creating a poster of hand prints saying 'We hold hands', experimenting with toy cars to learn the words stop and go, and singing road safety songs. Activities are designed to help children to start understanding road safety, and to emphasise to parents and other adults their responsibilities in protecting children.

Sponsorship raised by children taking part helps Brake provide support services for families bereaved and injured by road crashes and run community road safety campaigns.

Advice for parents
When your child starts to walk with you around your community, talk to them about how they must always hold your hand. If your child is likely to pull away from you, use safety reins or a wrist strap. Hold hands until your child is at least eight, or longer depending on their development.

Make sure they understand the meaning of stop, traffic, danger, look, listen, walk don't run, and other key words. Encourage your child's nursery or playgroup to teach road safety through a Beep Beep! Day. Your child's learning will be more effective if they are taught about road safety at school as well as at home.

Full results
These results, released today (Thursday 11 September 2014), are from a survey of 1,000 drivers conducted by Surveygoo.

Q1. Do you think families in your local area are able to walk and cycle without being endangered by fast traffic?

  • Yes - it is safe for families to walk and cycle in most or all of the local area: 36%
  • Partly - it is safe for families to walk and cycle in some parts of the local area: 57%
  • No - it is not safe for families to walk and cycle in most or all of the local area: 7%

Q2. In the past 12 months, have you had a near miss or collision with a pedestrian or cyclist, including where you've had to stop or swerve suddenly?

  • I have not hit someone, but I have had at least one near-miss: 13% (18% male, 10% female)
  • I bumped into someone but they weren't hurt: 2% (3% male, 1% female)
  • I hit someone and they suffered minor injuries: 1% (1% male, 1% female)
  • I hit someone and they had to go to hospital, but recovered: 0%
  • I hit someone and they suffered serious or long-term injury: 0%
  • I've been hit while on foot or bicycle myself: 3% (4% male, 3% female)
  • No, never: 82% (75% male, 86% female)

Q3. When you are on foot in your area, do you ever worry about being hit by traffic?

  • I worry every time I walk in my area: 4%
  • I worry often, but not every time: 10%
  • I worry occasionally: 48%
  • I never worry when walking: 34%
  • I never/hardly ever walk in my area - it is too dangerous: 1%
  • I never/hardly ever walk in my area - for other reasons: 3%

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

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.

Founded in 1989, Churchill is now one of the UK's leading providers of general insurance, offering car, home, travel and pet insurance cover over the phone or on-line.

Churchill general insurance policies are underwritten by UK Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Churchill and UK Insurance Limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.
Customers can find out more about Churchill products or get a quote by calling 0800 200300 or visiting

End notes
[1] Death registrations in England and Wales: table 2: deaths by age, sex and underlying cause, 2013 registrations, Office for National Statistics, 2014
[2] Reported road casualties in Great Britain: main results 2013 report, Department for Transport, 2014
[3] Reported road casualties in Great Britain: main results 2013 tables (table RAS30002), Department for Transport, 2014

Tags: cycling walk pedestrians churchill