Go bright and go 20, says charity, to prevent road casualties as evenings get darker

Friday 24 October 2014

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

As the clocks go back this Sunday, people on foot and bike become more vulnerable on our roads, as afternoons become darker and they are harder for drivers to spot. The charity Brake, in partnership with Autoglass, is calling on drivers to slow down and take extra care to prevent casualties, and inviting community groups and organisations to take part in its Bright Day initiative to raise awareness.

Last year in the UK 518 people were killed and 8,345 seriously injured while walking and cycling [1], and the risks are heightened on dark winter evenings. Drivers can do their bit to protect people on foot or bike by pledging to slow down to 20mph or below around homes, schools and shops, giving themselves a far better chance of stopping in time in an emergency, such as if a child steps out from the darkness unexpectedly. Find more driver advice at www.brake.org.uk/driveradvice and read about Brake's GO 20 campaign www.brake.org.uk/go20

Schools, community groups, organisations, and anyone passionate about walking and cycling are encouraged to sign up now to run a Bright Day during Road Safety Week (17-23 November). Bright Days are fun dress down days where everyone wears their brightest clothes to raise awareness of the risks faced by people on foot and bike and the importance of drivers slowing down and looking out. They raise funds for Brake's work caring for people bereaved and injured in road crashes and campaigning for safer roads.

Last year, hundreds of groups and organisations took part in the Bright Day initiative, raising almost £12,000 to support Brake's work. For instance, junior road safety officers at Bellfield and Crosshouse primary schools in Ayrshire raised £150 and £100 respectively on their Bright Days, which included classroom activities about being bright and seen and prizes for students with the brightest outfits.

To run your own Bright Day, register now for your free resource pack, including posters, flyers and donation bucket stickers, at www.brake.org.uk/brightday

The increased danger people on foot and bike are exposed to during the dark winter months could be reduced by putting the clocks forward by an hour year round, which is why Brake is part of the Lighter Later campaign, calling for this common sense change. It's estimated this would prevent 80 deaths and hundreds of serious injuries every year [2], preventing unnecessary suffering and saving the NHS £138million annually [3]. Find out more at www.brake.org.uk/lighterlater

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, the road safety charity, said: "As the clocks go back and afternoons get darker, people on foot and bike are more at risk, so it's a time when drivers needs to be extra vigilant – and that includes slowing down, and going 20 or below in towns and villages. It's also an ideal time for schools, organisations and community groups to help raise awareness and prevent casualties by getting involved with Brake's Bright Day initiative. Bright Days are a fun, simple way to promote vital road safety messages while raising funds to support Brake's work supporting families coping with the devastation of a death or serious injury in a road crash. Brake also continues to campaign for the government to take a positive step to stop preventable casualties by changing the clocks for good."

Neil Atherton, sales and marketing director at Autoglass, said: "Road safety and respect for pedestrians is something that we have always championed at Autoglass, so we are extremely proud to be supporting Brake's Bright Day campaign again this year. Participating in a Bright Day is a great way for organisations to raise road safety awareness and understand the importance of being seen on the roads, especially at this time of year when the clocks change. Awareness has a crucial role to play in keeping people safe on the roads, which is why we're supporting Brake's vital campaign and planning our own Bright Day to raise money and help Brake make a real difference."

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.

Autoglass®
Autoglass® is the UK's leading vehicle glass repair and replacement service, serving close to 1.5 million drivers a year. For details of your nearest centre, call 0800 36 36 36 or visit www.autoglass.co.uk

End notes
[1] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014