Children take to the streets to call for safer school journeys

Children have taken to the streets around their schools to call for safer journeys.

Road safety campaigners have revealed that on average 34 youngsters are killed or injured on the North West's roads every week.

It comes as a vigil was held on Merseyside in memory of schoolgirl Lexi McDavid who died after being hit by a van as she got off a bus.

Scott Williams, from the charity Brake, said: "It's every child's right to be able to walk in their community without fear of traffic and pollution.

"It is vital that children can walk safely in the places where they live."

20mph zones are becoming more common in built-up areas Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive/PA Images

Across the region, pupils have been learning key road safety messages and calling on grown-ups to make roads safer.

At Grosvenor Park Academy, Chester, primary school students as young as four-years-old help each other to stay safe.

Laura Conde, who looks after children's safety and wellbeing, said: "We are an inner city school which is vey very busy with traffic but we also think of Chester as being our playground. It massively helps to enrich our curriculum.

"But to be able to access those special places in Chester we need to walk with the children and helping children keep safe on the roads is a priority for us."

Police showed pupils how to check the traffic with a police speed gun.

The latest figures are from 2020, when Covid restrictions are likely to have been responsible for a reduction in the numbers of children injured or killed on the region's roads.

However, the numbers still make shocking reading.

Brake has analysed statistics from the Department for Transport which show that the greatest number of casualties in the region happened in Lancashire (excluding Blackburn) where 248 children were recorded injured or killed, a 26% reduction on 2019 figures.

Liverpool recorded 100 child road casualties in 2020. There were 88 in Manchester and 83 in Cumbria.

The concern is that numbers will rise again once figures reflect increased levels of traffic after lockdown.

Junior safety officers Evvie & Ruby join a PCSO to teach children the Green Cross Code.

At Grosvenor Park, they have enlisted volunteers from Year Six to lead the way when it comes to road safety.

The junior safety officers joined police and the council to give advice to their peers in the hope they can prevent an incident on the busy roads outside the school.

Evvie, 11, admitted she gets nervous about her own safety.

She said: "You don't know what the driver is thinking or what they are doing.

"Everyone has to be aware of what's going on so they can keep everyone around them safe."

Ruby, also 11, wants adults to think before getting behind the wheel.

She said: "It's extremely busy. There are cars everywhere.

"Be aware of your surroundings because you can't always see the people around you if you're in a car."

Grosvenor Park Academy is on a busy main road in the centre of Chester.

For the first time this year, Brake has given schools a Kids' Manifesto for safe and healthy journeys that they can use to help them ask local or national decision-makers to address their local road dangers.

The charity says it hopes to help children understand that their voice is important and empower them to ask grown-ups to keep them safe near roads, including through creation of safe spaces for them to walk and ride.

The manifesto also calls for road safety to be included on the curriculum for all schoolchildren because there is currently no statutory guidance for teaching of road safety in schools.