A new report by the RAC Foundation, timed to coincide with the weekend clock change, reveals that the number of child cyclists hurt in July is significantly higher than it is in December. It also found that 13 per cent of all child road casualties are cyclists.
After examining child road casualties between 2010 and 2014, the RAC Foundation found that there were on average 227 under-15s killed or seriously injured in July each year, from a total of 1,733 casualties. This compared to 122 killed or seriously injured in December, out of 1,103 casualties.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:
“Instinctively we think of the dark, cold months as taking the biggest toll on our children. But the opposite is true. With the longer, warmer days, children are more likely to be out and about and with that comes a rise in casualties.
“We don’t want to wrap our children in cotton wool, and walking and cycling are generally good for our health, so as adults and parents we need to lead by example whether we are driving a car, crossing the road or on two wheels.
“The more we act responsibly, the faster young children will learn and the more likely they will be to stay safe when they have to make decisions for themselves.”
Unsurprisingly, the peak hour for child road casualties is between 3pm and 4pm with higher levels also seen in the following couple of hours. Another spike is seen in the morning between 8am and 9am.
Blackpool topped the organisation’s list of areas with the highest proportion of child casualties with 30.84 casualties per 10,000 resident children. Other areas of Lancashire also fared badly. Hyndburn was second with 29.83, Blackburn with Darwen was third with 28.69 and Burnley was fourth with 28.66. Preston and Liverpool also featured in a top ten in which the North-West features heavily.
The area with the lowest proportion of child casualties was the Forest of Dean with 8.61 casualties per 10,000 resident children, followed by Bracknell Forest and Wokingham.
Pete Williams, a trustee of the RAC’s Road Safety Awareness Charity, said:
“It is the responsibility of all drivers to be mindful of the risks of young road users and children playing around and near roads and to reduce their speed and increase their vigilance. But more needs to be done to address road safety education in schools and across the board to ensure our young people are alert to the potential dangers.
“That is why the RAC has teamed up with The Scout Association to improve the awareness and skills of their half a million members to help them keep safe and to grow up as responsible road users.”