With a general election due on 12 December, political parties are being urged to prioritise safer streets in the upcoming election in A Manifesto for Walking, released today (18 November) at the start of Road Safety Week (18-24 November).

Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, wants politicians to commit long-term funding for walking and back stronger laws to create cleaner, safer and less congested streets. The road safety pioneers celebrate their 90th anniversary this year and its early campaigning led to the UK’s first zebra crossings and speed limits.

26,000 people are killed or seriously injured on our roads each year, with the most recent Department for Transport (DfT) road casualty statistics revealing shocking increases in pedestrian fatalities on Britain’s roads amongst children and older adults.

 

Meanwhile, 36,000 premature deaths a year are attributable to air pollution; physical inactivity is costing the NHS £1.1 billion a year; and footfall on our high streets has fallen by 22 per cent in a decade. Living Streets believes a better walking environment can be part of the solution.

Living Streets today published A Manifesto for Walking, calling on the next UK government to: 

  • Raise long-term investment in walking and cycling to at least 10% of transport spending;
  • Transform routes to school with at least 55% of primary pupils walking to school by 2025; 
  • Tackle pavement parking across the UK, building on progress in Scotland;
  • Revise the Highway Code to make our streets safer for walking and cycling;
  • Make 20mph the default limit in built-up areas.

If over 25,000 people were killed or seriously injured each year in any other sphere there would be an outcry, but these casualties on our roads seem to be tolerated.

Joe Irvin, Chief Executive, Living Streets

Joe Irvin, Chief Executive, Living Streets says:

“We have unacceptable road danger, a climate change emergency, toxic levels of air pollution and a crisis in public health due to our sedentary lifestyle. Walking more and driving less is part of the solution - and that requires safer streets. By committing to prioritise walking, candidates will help to tackle these challenges and create safer, happier and healthier communities.

“Transforming routes to school, passing consistent laws on pavement parking, and revising the Highway Code are some of the steps the next UK government needs to take to make it safer and easier for people to walk more of their everyday journeys.”