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
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.