Ten per cent of the children killed on Britain's roads last year died while cycling it has been revealed in answer to a parliamentary question.
In reply to a question from the Conservative MP, Peter Bone, Paul Clark the Minister of State at the Department for Transport said that 12 children under the age of 15 were killed on “pedal cycles” and a further 405 were seriously injured in reported road accidents in 2008 the latest year for which figures are available, the total number of children killed on the roads was 124 and the total number of cycling fatalities was 115.
In response to a follow-up question from Andrew Rosindell on what the DfT was doing to lower the casualty rate the minister said that among the recent steps taken to reduce the number of child road death included:
“new advertising and education campaigns aimed at children, their parents and teachers;
the dissemination of the Kerbcraft child pedestrian training scheme;
the roll out of Bikeability cycle training; and
the roll out of school travel plans and infrastructure for safer routes to school.
“We have also, in our consultation on a new road safety strategy, proposed to provide greater encouragement for local authorities to introduce 20 mph limits and zones in streets which are primarily residential in nature.
“The safety of all road users, including children, also benefits from our activities and spending on broader road safety measures, including changes to the road environment and to improve driver behaviour.”
Earlier this year the Government's road safety record was criticised in a report by the Audit Commission* which said that while casualty rates were in decline for all road users the rate of decline for the most vulnerable: children, pedestrians and cyclists was nothing like as great as that for motorists.
In June the DfT released the 2008 road casualty statistics for Great Britain which were hailed at the time by Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis as showing that Britain now has the safest roads in Europe, the Government also said that it had now met it's targets for road safety. However provisional first quarter figures for 2009 showed a climb in the number of cycling casualties.
* Improving road safety for pedestrians and cyclists in Great Britain
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.