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Wednesday, 15 November, 2023

Call for 20mph limit on all roads near schools so children can travel safely

Call for 20mph limit on all roads near schools so children ‘can travel safely’

Speed limits of 20mph should be imposed on all roads near schools to reduce the number of child crash deaths, according to a charity.

Brake, which campaigns to boost road safety, said cutting speed limits “saves lives”.

Department for Transport figures show 2,456 children aged under 16 were killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads last year.

Many councils have introduced 20mph zones around schools.

But Brake said nearly two-thirds of parents reported that some roads near their children’s schools have higher limits.

The charity cited the example of Dropmore Infant School in Buckinghamshire where the limit on nearby roads is up to 60mph, and there are areas with no pavements.

Headteacher Gitta Streete, who has called for the speed limit on surrounding roads to be reduced to 20mph for several years, said: “What we often hear back is that because no-one has been seriously hurt or killed on that road, there is no need to make any changes.

“One parent had their car door taken off by a passing car. That could easily have been a child, parent or carer being hit.

“What we need is a proper, phased speed reduction system: a reduction to 20mph outside the school and safe areas for everyone to walk along and cross the road.”

Steven Broadbent, Buckinghamshire Council’s cabinet member for transport, insisted the local authority takes road safety “incredibly seriously” and is “very much aware of the concerns that have been raised” in relation to Dropmore.

He went on: “We want to continue working as closely as possible with them and all schools to ensure all students have safe passage to and from school.”

Brake campaigns manager Lucy Straker said: “Dropmore’s situation is being replicated across the country.

“We speak to lots of schools where teachers are doing everything they can to make the roads near their school safe, but ultimately they need support from their local council and decision-makers.

“Why do we have to wait until a child is killed before we act?”

“We know that excess speed is a factor in about a quarter of fatal crashes, and the physics is pretty straightforward: the faster a vehicle is travelling, the harder it hits and the greater the impact.

“A crash at 30mph has twice the amount of kinetic energy as a crash at 20mph. Reducing speed saves lives.

“We’re calling for roads around every school to have 20mph speed limits – and other measures to effectively reduce traffic speed – so children and their families can travel safely to and from school every day.”

Children from more than 700 schools and nurseries are expected to participate in Brake’s Kids Walk on Wednesday, which involves walking in groups and calling for safe and healthy journeys without fear from traffic.

From September 17, the Welsh Government is introducing a default 20mph limit on residential roads and busy pedestrian streets.

It said Wales will be “one of the first countries in the world, and the first nation in the UK” to introduce such legislation.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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