New Department for Transport (DfT) road casualty statistics released today (27 September) reveal that in 2017, pedestrians accounted for more than a quarter (26%) of road fatalities in Great Britain – up 5% on the previous year.

14% of children killed on roads in 2017 were between 7-9am and 23% were between 3-5pm – school run hours.

Tanya Braun, Head of Policy at Living Streets comments:

“These are heart-breaking figures. People walking do not cause congestion, road danger or toxic air levels, and yet they’re the ones paying the price on our roads.

“The current justice system is simply not an effective deterrent to dangerous behaviour. We are calling for an urgent review of how the justice system deals with mistakes, carelessness, recklessness and deliberately dangerous behaviour by all road users.

“We also need to see many more measures which protect pedestrians, particularly the most vulnerable ones like children: lower speed limits in urban areas, more time to cross at light-controlled crossings, better street maintenance and constraints on pavement parking.  

“Cars on the school run are a huge part of traffic in the morning peak. By creating safer school walking routes and investing in proven behaviour change initiatives, we can help reduce the number of cars on our roads, improving safety for everyone.

“October is International Walk to School Month. We want as many families as possible to swap the school run for a school walk – helping to reduce congestion and improve road safety.”  

Figures

  • There were 23,805 pedestrian casualties in 2017, an increase of 1% since 2016.
  • In 2017, there were 32 810 casualties involving young people (17-24). 10% of these were pedestrians.
  • In 2017, there were 22 375 casualties involving older people. 18% of these were pedestrians.
  • A quarter of all pedestrian casualties in 2017 were children aged one to five years old and more than a third (36%) of these incidents occurred between 3-7pm.
  • In 2017, there were 107 347 casualties on urban roads, 20% of which were pedestrians - compared with 5% on rural roads.
  • More than a third (37%) of children killed on roads in 2017 were pedestrians.

The Department’s call for evidence on cycling and walking, which closed at the start of June, gave people the opportunity to share their views and opinions on ways to improve cycling and walking safety from improved infrastructure to education for all road users. The findings of the consultation will be shared in due course.

Living Streets has been working with the Department for Transport, alongside cycling and road safety organisations, and has lobbied successfully for this review to be widened to include pedestrian safety.

Living Streets is jointly holding a conference on 8 November with PACTS the parliamentary road safety body to explore what more can be done to make our streets safer for walking.