Wed 24 Apr 2024

Beep Beep! Day - raising child road safety awareness

Every year, thousands of children take part in Beep Beep! Day.  This is a Road Safety awareness campaign specifically targeting children aged between 2-7.  It is organised and promoted by Brake the Road Safety Charity.  Brake's work is invaluable in supporting people affected by road crashes and campaigning for safe, healthy mobility for all through community partnerships and campaigns. 

This campaign is unique, given that it is targeted at such a young age group. There is a section of their website - Brake Zebras designed for children which has plenty of fun activities, stories and activities children can engage with, along with their families, carers or teachers. 

On average, 9 children aged 7 years or under are killed or injured on British roads every day.  This is a shocking statistic, especially when the majority of these deaths are entirely preventable. To help prevent this, even the youngest children need to know about the dangers of traffic.  Only if that danger can be minimised, are families able to walk and cycle safely in their community, which in turn promotes health and wellbeing. It is for this reason that Beep Beep! Day is focussing on encouraging us to talk to children about the importance of holding hands when walking near roads and crossing roads at safe places with a grown up, both potentially lifesaving pieces of advice.  More information can be found online at: Beep Beep! Days | Brake

In 2022, changes were made to the Highway Code which aimed to increase safety for all road users.  The changes introduced a hierarchy of road users which meant that those road users who can cause the most harm, have a greater responsibility to reduce the danger they pose to others.  Therefore, drivers are responsible for cyclists' safety, and, in turn, cyclists are responsible for pedestrians' safety.  This is in stark contrast to the previous situation where all road users, from children to lorry drivers, were equally responsible for their own safety.

Under the rules of the Highway Code, pedestrians and cyclists have more priority over drivers.  Whilst previously motorists only had to give way to pedestrians once they stepped on to a zebra crossing, the updated Code strengthens pedestrians' priority when on pavements and when crossing or waiting to cross the road.  Motorists and cyclists are required to give way to pedestrians when turning at junctions if they are crossing or waiting to cross the road. 

It is important that all road users take the time to understand the rules of the Highway Code and adapt their habits to comply.  In the event that an accident occurs, and the road user was found not to be compliant with the Code, they may be held liable for the accident.

The current rules are welcomed by Safety groups, albeit they do stop short of liability automatically attaching to drivers who are involved in accidents with cyclists and pedestrians.  Nevertheless, the current rules have provided much needed protection of more vulnerable road users, and particularly our little people.

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