Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans is backing a campaign to cut the number of accidents around schools and encourage communities to help develop solutions to road safety issues in their area.
Newly published figures – drawn from analysis of more than 200,000 pieces of data from the Department for Transport – highlight problems faced by road users around schools – for example, a high prevalence of accidents involving cyclists, or people using mobile technology. The figures also show which age groups are particularly vulnerable to being involved in a road traffic accident.
A startling 68% of all child road traffic incidents between 2008 and 2013 were found to have happened in the 500 metres around schools. Although the past three years have seen the total number of UK accidents fall by 9%, six of the 11 regions in the UK have seen an increase in the proportion of accidents around schools in the past three years (2011-13), compared to the previous three (2008-11).
For example the figures show that, between 2008 and 20013, there were 31 accidents within 500 metres of Whalley Primary School, four involving children, six involving pedestrians and four involving cyclists.
Following the publication of the data, AXA Insurance has also launched the first road safety crowdfunding campaign to enable local communities to source funds and help pay for vital road safety initiatives identified as being needed around schools. Anybody, from a parent or local road safety officer, to schools, local campaigners, local authorities or businesses, can use the service to pay for things like the printing costs following a school road safety drawing competition, funding a lollipop person or a pedestrian crossing.
A dedicated team at www.crowdfunder.co.uk will help every project get off the ground, offering ongoing help and guidance. As part of the programme, AXA Insurance has committed an initial £10,000 to “match-fund” the projects and get them funded.
Attending the Parliamentary launch of the 2014 interactive AXA Local Road Safety Map, Mr Evans commented: “Road safety in Ribble Valley is an incredibly important issue. The number of road accidents in the UK, while falling, is still too high and we need to do all we can to support parents, schools and councils understand the risks and take steps to address them.
“The AXA Local Road Safety Map is a vital tool in highlighting where the dangers are, and I warmly welcome the work being done by AXA to match-fund road safety initiatives. This funding not only encourages local communities to work together to bring down the number of accidents on their local roads, but also provides much needed resource when local authority budgets are under increasing financial pressures.”