New traffic sign pictured with hedgehog made to save 'precious' small animal population

The road sign will be found in areas with highest accident rates. Credit: Department of Transport

A new traffic sign picturing a hedgehog will warn drivers of animals on the road ahead.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling unveiled the new sign on Monday, which will be set up in areas where accident rates are highest.

The Department of Transport says hundreds of people are injured every year in collisions with animals on the road but it’s hoped the new sign will help “precious” animal populations “flourish”.

Mr Grayling said: “We have some of the safest roads in the world but we are always looking at how we can make them safer. Motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users are particularly at risk.

“The new small mammal warning sign should help to reduce the number of people killed and injured, as well as helping our precious small wild mammal population to flourish.”

Chris Grayling unveiled the sign on Monday. Credit: PA

In 2017, 629 people were injured in accidents involving an animal in the road (excluding horses) and 4 people were killed.

Between 2005 and 2017, 100 people were killed, with a further 14,173 injured in accidents involving an animal in the road.

Mr Grayling is calling on local authorities and animal welfare groups to pinpoint accident and wildlife hotspots for the sign.

Designers also made the sign in a bid to reverse the decline in wildlife numbers - hedgehogs in particular, whose population in rural areas has halved since 2000.

It is hoped Hedgehogs will be saved by the sign. Credit: PA

Tony Campbell, chief executive of the Motorcycle Industry Association(MCIA), said: “Powered two-wheelers provide a great solution to road congestion, but like all road users, riders must be aware of those around them.

“Therefore the MCIA is pleased to welcome these new signs that will help everyone, including those on 2 wheels or 4 legs, complete their journeys more safely."

The Transport Secretary is also meeting with road safety experts on Monday, including Brake, the AA and the RAC Foundation, together with animal protection groups including the Wildlife Trust, to discuss the scale of the problem.