Zak the Zebra canters into Whittle-le-Woods to support school campaign for 20mph limits

Wednesday 15 October 2014

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

Zak the Zebra, mascot of Brake, the road safety charity, has cantered into Whittle-le-Woods, near Chorley, to assist a local primary school in their struggle for 20mph speed limits in their area. With support and sponsorship from Royal HaskoningDHV, Zak will help the school children take on the challenge of reducing speeds, especially on a busy road outside their school.

Local campaigners, led by Karen Field, a parent at Whittle-le-Woods Church of England Primary School, launched their campaign after a young boy was hit by a van outside the school on Preston Road, where fast traffic has been a cause of mounting concern for both parents and staff. Since June 2014, there have been a number of other collisions on a crossing outside the school.

The campaigners have joined forces with staff, pupils and local councillors, to demand a statutory 20mph limit in the area, rather than the current advisory one, which campaigners are concerned is frequently ignored, making it dangerous for children to cross the road.

These concerns were raised at a crisis meeting with the school, representatives of Lancashire County Council, and County Councillor John Fillis. As well as asking for a statutory 20mph limit, a permanent 'lollipop person' was suggested, along with other traffic calming measures.

On Wednesday 15 October, Whittle-le-Woods Church of England Primary School is holding a demonstration outside the school to call on local drivers to slow down to protect children, enabling them to get to school on foot or bike without being put in danger. Police community support officers and local councillor Mark Perks will be joining parents and pupils at the demonstration, along with Zak the Zebra, who will be throwing Brake's weight behind the campaign.

Brake campaigns nationally for town, village and city-wide 20mph limits, to protect people where they live, work, learn or play. To find out more about the GO 20 campaign for safe, active, happy communities, and how you can get involved, visit www.brake.org.uk/go20

Ed Morrow, campaigns officer, Brake, the road safety charity, said: "Brake is 100 per cent behind the campaign at Whittle-le-Woods Primary School. Everyone – adults and children – has the right to walk and cycle, to get to school or work, to visit local shops and facilities, or just for their enjoyment, without being endangered by fast traffic. 20mph limits are absolutely key to achieving this – they are an effective, tried and tested way of protecting our children, and making our communities more pleasant places for everyone. We hope Zak's visit will help persuade the authorities to listen and act on the community's concerns by implementing a statutory 20mph limit in the area."

Karen Field, parent and local campaigner, said: "Our school is on a very busy main road. Since June this year we have had several collisions on the crossing, including a child and an adult being hit by cars. Thanks to the support of the parents, staff and pupils of the school, and Councillor Mark Perks, we have now secured a new style of crossing to be installed in half term, and the wheels are in motion for a crossing attendant to be in place for September 2015. However, what would make the biggest difference to the safety of the crossing, and the road as a whole, would be a lower speed limit – halving the speed limit would greatly reduce the risk of further collisions and help keep our children safe."

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 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.

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. Aternatively, they can call Zak's hotline number, 08000 687 780. 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.