GO 20 campaign calls for a 2012 legacy of safe walking and cycling

Fleets urged to raise awareness among at-work drivers during Road Safety Week

19 November 2012

Brake, the road safety charity
19 november 2012 

A national campaign launched today (19 November) is appealing to drivers to GO 20, to bring about a 2012 legacy of safe walking and cycling for everyone. Brake, the road safety charity is appealing to drivers to slow down to 20mph around homes, schools and shops, and calling for 20mph limits in built-up areas, so children and adults can walk and cycle for their health and enjoyment, and for cheap and sustainable travel, without being endangered.

Fleet operators and suppliers nationwide are helping to promote the life saving slow down message by getting involved in Road Safety Week (19-25 November 2012), coordinated by Brake, and mobilising staff and communities in awareness-raising activities.

Thousands of organisations, schools and community groups around the UK are taking part in the Week to get the message across about how we can make roads safer and prevent needless tragedies.

Brake is encouraging companies, particularly fleet operators, to take advantage of the event to promote safe driving to staff and show their commitment to road safety in the wider community. Companies can still register on the Road Safety Week website to receive a pack of free electronic resources, including a guidance sheet by Brake's Fleet Safety Forum on managing driver speed.

As the GO 20 campaign is launched in Road Safety Week through street parties and events across the UK (see below), a survey of more than 8,000 children [1] age 7-11 by Brake, Brain Injury Group and Specsavers reveals how children are affected by danger from fast traffic:

  • Seven in 10 (70%) say they would be able to walk and cycle more if roads in their neighbourhood were less dangerous
  • More than three-quarters (77%) say drivers need to slow down around their home and school
  • Four in 10 (43%) say they have been hit or nearly hit while walking or cycling, and more than half (54%) worry about being hurt by traffic when out and about.

The GO 20 campaign is highlighting that slower speeds in towns, cities and villages can help deliver a post-2012 legacy of active communities, and prevent devastating pedestrian and cyclist casualties, which increased in 2011 (see below). Many authorities are already recognising the benefits of 20mph by implementing town and city-wide 20 limits. GO 20 calls for: more authorities to do this; the government to work towards 20mph being the norm in communities; and drivers to pledge to GO 20 around homes, schools and shops, even where 30 limits remain.

Why GO 20:

  • Fewer casualties: at 20, drivers have much more time to react, to help them stop in time if they need to, like if a child runs out. Studies show that when 20 limits replace 30, it means fewer casualties among pedestrians and cyclists [2].
  • 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 [3].
  • Healthier, happier people: More walking and cycling means healthier people, and more enjoyable outdoors activity for kids and adults. It helps communities interact and be communities.
  • Less pollution: GOing 20 means lower emissions from vehicle journeys [4]. 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 costs society dearly [5]. Road casualties cost even more, due to the suffering and burden on health and emergency services [6]. Preventing casualties and improving health means GOing 20 pays for itself many times over [7]. It also helps people save money by choosing the cheapest ways to get about: foot and bike.

Read more about the case for GO 20 here.

Companies getting involved in Road Safety Week:

Below are some examples of how fleets and fleet suppliers are getting involved in Road Safety Week.

Balfour Beatty Fleet Services are visiting three high schools in the Derby area, West Park School, Derby College and Friesland School to deliver interactive presentations which will encourage Year 11 and 12 students to drive safely.

Cardinus Risk Management are holding a cine racing event with a buffet, disco, charity auction and raffle, with all proceeds being donated to Brake to support their work preventing road crashes and supporting the victims.

Colas Limited are engaging their staff on the importance of slowing down to 20mph around homes, schools and shops by running a Bright Day on 23rd November 2012 at their head office in Crawley and across the UK, where everyone will wear fluorescent clothing to work. This is particularly important message during the winter months as darker nights and worsening weather conditions reduce visibility and make it harder to see children and pedestrians.

Eddie Stobart employees will be working with pupils at West Haddon Primary School in Northamptonshire to deliver road safety messages to children around the importance of Be Bright Be Seen and the Green Cross Code.

Many of the organisations taking part are Brake partners and subscribers to Brake's Fleet Safety Forum, which provides advice, information and resources based around a programme of events for fleet professionals, sharing and promoting best practice and latest research. 2013 topics include Using in-vehicle technology to improve safety, Creating sustainable travel plans, and Blind spots & manoeuvring: preventing crashes with pedestrians and cyclists. Fleet operators can find out how they can benefit from this essential service at www.fleetsafetyforum.org.

A free copy of the Forum's guidance report for fleet managers on Managing driver speed is included in the e-action pack available by registering at www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, says: "GO 20 is all about enabling people to walk and cycle without fear or threat. If we are to bring about a 2012 legacy of more active communities, we need to make our streets and communities safer places. Fleet operators can play an essential role in bringing this about, by ensuring their drivers always put protecting people first, and understand the vital importance of slowing down. Our main message in Road Safety Week is appealing to drivers to stay well within limits, and slow down to 20 around homes, schools and shops. It makes roads safer for walking and cycling, and makes little difference to journey times. It's great so many fleet operators are getting involved and helping to communicate this and other life-saving messages this year. We urge other employers to register on the Road Safety Week website to get our free guidance on managing driver speed."

Anyone can pledge their support for GO 20 at go20.org.

Campaign launch events

GO 20 is being launched at a walking and cycling street party in Islington, London's first 20mph borough:
AT: 10.30am, Monday 19 November 2012
WHERE: Sable Street, Islington N1 2AF (at the back of William Tyndale Primary School)
FILMING/PHOTOS: children from William Tyndale Primary School will be hearing from Paralympian Danny Crates how great it is to be healthy and active, taking part in a safe cycling demo with Islington Council, carrying out speed checks with Met Police, and celebrating 20mph with their own banners and placards
INTERVIEWS: Brake deputy CEO Julie Townsend; Paralympian Danny Crates; bereaved parents Sue and Dave Britt; injured campaigner Tom Kearney; Chief Inspector Ian Vincent, Metropolitan Police; Cllr James Murray, Islington Council's executive member for housing and development; vox pops with kids

Other events are happening across the UK, in partnership with local authorities, emergency services and schools. Find out more from news@brake.org.uk / 01484 559909.

Pedestrian and cyclist casualties

Every day in the UK, 19 adults and seven children are mowed down and killed or seriously hurt when on foot or bike.

In 2011 pedestrian deaths and serious injuries went up significantly, and for the first time in 17 years. Pedestrian deaths increased by 12%, while serious injuries increased by 5%. 466 people were killed on foot in 2011 and 5,654 were seriously injured. Of these victims, 31% (1,901) were children: 50 child pedestrians were killed in 2011 and 1,851 suffered serious injuries.

While cyclist deaths decreased by 2% in 2011, serious injuries increased by 16%. 109 cyclists were killed in 2011 and 3,132 suffered serious injuries. Of these victims, 16% (511) were children: 10 child cyclists were killed and 501 suffered serious injuries. [8]

More survey results

8,061 children age 7-11 gave their views through hands-up surveys in schools across the UK. As well as the results above:

  • 72% said they would like to walk and cycle more than they do at present
  • 75% would like more traffic-free cycle paths in their area, while 61% would like more footpaths, pavements and crossings, which they could use to get to school, the park, shops or to see friends
  • 38% said they are not allowed to walk unaccompanied and 47% said they are not allowed to cycle unaccompanied.

Compare results from different UK regions on this restricted-access web page.

Case studies

Aaron Britt, 16, from Mansfield, was knocked down and killed by a speeding driver outside his college on 3 October 2011. Aaron suffered severe head injuries and died the following day. His mum Sue Britt is supporting Road Safety Week and the GO 20 campaign. Read more.

Sue Britt says: "Aaron was our only son and we feel empty without him. He was an exceptional young lad; he knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life and had set about making it happen. I urge drivers to slow down to 20mph or less where people are so you have time to stop if someone steps out. Simply making a commitment to slow down will mean you're helping to make roads safer, and it could prevent more people losing their lives needlessly, and other families going through the pain and heartache we have. Aaron was kind and thoughtful and did not deserve to die for making a mistake."

Tom Kearney, 47, of Hampstead, was struck by a bus as he was about to cross Oxford Street at a pedestrian crossing on the busiest shopping day of the year. He suffered severe injuries to his brain and lungs, and was in a deep near-death coma for two weeks. It took Tom two years to recover. Read more.

Tom said: "It took me about two years to rebuild my life because of being hit by a bus. I'm lucky to still be here at all; other people are not so lucky. Drivers can make a big difference in helping to prevent injuries, deaths and suffering by being more aware about the harm they can cause, and taking responsibility for the speed of their vehicles. Drivers should slow right down on shopping streets, in residential neighbourhoods and around schools. Vehicles have the right to be on roads, but so do pedestrians and other non-vehicle road users. If you are behind the wheel of a vehicle, you also have the responsibility to drive with lives outside your vehicle in mind."

Sponsor quotes

Dame Mary Perkins, founder of Specsavers, says: "We are proud to be backing Road Safety Week and joining Brake in calling for action to protect people on foot and bicycle and make our roads safer for everyone. At Specsavers we think protecting children, families and people of all ages when they walk and cycle is absolutely vital. Allowing more people to walk or cycle safely is good for health, the economy and the environment. Everyone can play a part in making this happen, but drivers in particular can take some simple steps, like committing to slowing down to 20mph where people live, and making sure they have crystal clear 20-20 vision too. If we all get behind this campaign, we can make a huge difference in preventing casualties and making our communities safer places."

Sally Dunscombe, operations director at Brain Injury Group says: "We are delighted to support Road Safety Week and to play our part in making roads safer for people to walk and cycle. We know from our work that motor vehicle crashes account for half of all traumatic brain injuries, causing terrible suffering and turns people's lives upside down. Slowing down to 20mph makes an enormous difference in preventing road casualties as it gives you a better chance of stopping in time in an emergency, such as if a child runs out. As well as preventing devastating casualties, if drivers slow down to 20mph it makes our communities more enjoyable places, where people – particularly children – can get out and about without being endangered. We all have a role to play in making this happen, and Brain Injury Group is committed to playing its part by getting behind this important campaign."

Notes for editors

GO 20 is a partnership campaign being launched by Brake at the start of Road Safety Week 2012 (19-25 November). Find out more at www.go20.org.

Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 66 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 (19-25 November 2012), 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 Safety Week is the UK's flagship event to promote safer road use, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations across the country. Road Safety Week 2012 takes place 19-25 November, with support from headline sponsors Brain Injury Group and Specsavers, plus regional sponsors Woop young driver insurance, Bubblebum UK Ltd, Fleet Support Group and Leigh Day & Co Solicitors.

The Brain Injury Group is the UK's first national network of dedicated brain and head injury lawyers and expert specialists that provides a complete package of support for brain injured people and their families. If you have been affected by brain injury, you can find a local, specialist, skilled brain injury lawyer and other associated support services to help you at www.braininjurygroup.co.uk 

Good eyesight is imperative to road safety, which is why Specsavers has made a longstanding commitment to promoting the importance of clear vision behind the wheel, working alongside the national road safety charity Brake. The Specsavers Drive Safe road show tours events and town centres across the country with its specially designed trailer. Visitors to the trailer are invited to receive free vision and hearing screening, with experts on hand to answer any questions.

Islington Council is the first local authority in the country to introduce 20mph limits across its roads: main roads as well as side roads. All Islington's side streets became 20mph in 2010, and a year later the council agreed to introduce the same limit on main roads, to improve safety in the inner London borough. Work to install new signs and road markings is due to start later this year, to be completed by spring 2013. A small number of major roads in Islington, managed by Transport for London, will remain at 30mph.


Road crashes are not accidents; the use of the term 'accident' undermines work to reduce road risk and causes insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by drivers taking risks on roads.

End notes:

[1] 8,061 children gave their views through 'hands-up' surveys in schools across the UK, Brake, 2012

[2] For example, 20mph speed reduction initiative, Scottish Executive Central Research Unit, 2001; 20mph Speed Limit Pilots Evaluation Report, Warrington Borough Council, 2010

[3] 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

[4] 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

[5] The annual costs of physical inactivity in England are estimated at £8.2 billion. 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

[6] Road casualties in Britain cost an estimated £34.8billion in 2011, due to the burden on health and emergency services, criminal justice costs, insurance payouts, and human costs. Reported road casualties Great Britain annual reports 2011, Department for Transport, 2012

[7] In Bristol, 20mph resulted in a massive return on investment because of 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 costs. 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. Reducing speeds in urban environments reduces casualties. For each 1mph speed reduction, casualties decrease by 5%, The effects of drivers' speed on the frequency of road accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 2000, fewer crashes reduces the burden on the NHS, emergency services and local economy. Each death on roads costs £1.7 million and each serious injury costs £190,000, Reported road casualties Great Britain 2011, Department for Transport, 2012

[8] These figures are from Reported road casualties Great Britain 2011, Department for Transport, 2011, and Police recorded injury road traffic collisions and casualties Northern Ireland annual report 2011, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2012. Figures for children were requested from the Department for Transport and Police Service for Northern Ireland and are for children aged 0 – 17.

Tags: Sustainability 20mph Go 20 school road safety week vulnerable road users campaign