A new campaign aims to highlight the common causes of collisions involving child pedestrians in Lancashire in a bid to cut the number of deaths and injuries on our roads.
Around 65 child pedestrians are killed or seriously injured across Lancashire, Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool every year.
The campaign being run by the Lancashire Road Safety Partnership will encourage everyone on the roads to look out for each other, with a focus on providing information and advice to parents and carers so they can to show children how to stay safe when out and about.
Most incidents happen when a child suddenly steps, runs or cycles into the road, and in a significant proportion of collisions, children are with an adult family member at the time.
The campaign will ask adults to set a good example to children by always crossing safely themselves, and also ask drivers to play their part by anticipating that children can behave unpredictably, and give themselves time to watch out for children and stop if necessary.
Other common factors include adults losing control of younger children whilst crossing the road, the presence of parked cars which reduce visibility, and children becoming distracted immediately before a collision.
Parents and carers are being asked to check out resources on the Partnership’s website safe2travel.co.uk/lookout to help them understand what they can do to make a difference.
The campaign will be supported by roadside banners and signs as well as targeted messages on social media.
The summer months are when incidents spike - during the school holidays, when children are playing out and walking in groups, and their return to school later in the summer, when those going to secondary for the first time gain more independence and walk new routes which may be unfamiliar to them.
County Councillor Keith Iddon, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We are all responsible for each other’s safety on the roads and the number of child pedestrians being killed or injured every year in Lancashire is something we should not accept.
“We teach children about road safety through schools, however we’re also encouraging everyone who has responsibility for young people to do their bit and help to reinforce that message. There are also practical things that parents and carers can do such as planning regular journeys such as safe routes to school.
“There are certain times in a child’s development when their risk of being involved in a collision as a pedestrian increases. One key time is when children are around aged 6, and become very mobile for the first time, with the potential they could run into the road while playing or stray from parents or carers when crossing the road.
“The other is when children begin secondary school and gain a bit more independence, walking alone or in groups over longer distances, but may be prone to distraction.
“We’re also asking drivers to help, by taking more care when travelling through areas where children may be out playing, and being aware that many incidents happen at the start and end of the day as children travel between home and school.”
Councillor Arshid Mahmood, Blackburn with Darwen Council executive member for neighbourhoods and prevention, said: “Although casualty numbers have been reducing over recent years, any accident is one too many. This campaign will help to re-enforce the message to stay safe, especially during the summer months when children are more likely to be playing out.
“Staying safe when crossing the road is a message every school, parent and carer tries to reinforce with their children and I would also urge motorists to be aware of the need to look out for children.
“The project is a key part of the borough’s multi-agency accident prevention strategy developed to prevent the harms caused by accidents not just in Blackburn with Darwen but across Lancashire.”
Child pedestrian casualties are higher in certain areas, and the campaign will pay particular attention to raising awareness of the issue in Blackburn with Darwen.