The perils that Wigan children face on the street

Wigan child pedestrians were the victims of road accidents dozens of times in four years, analysis of official figures has revealed.
Crusaders say more should be done to educate children about road safetyCrusaders say more should be done to educate children about road safety
Crusaders say more should be done to educate children about road safety

Campaigners say more should be done to educate youngsters about road safety after thousands of child pedestrians across Great Britain were hurt or killed in incidents between 2017 and 2020.

Analysis of Department for Transport figures by insurance company Churchill reveals that during that period, 53 children were hit by a vehicle in Wigan. Of them, 17 were seriously injured.

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Primary school aged pupils made up 17 per cent of all 313 adult and child pedestrian casualties recorded by the DfT in 2017-20, despite representing 10% of the population.

Churchill’s analysis found six incidents in Wigan involving a casualty aged between four and 11 happened in a 20mph zone, while none were within 500 metres of a school.

The figures also show that nine children were hit during school ‘rush hours’, either between 7.30am and 8.30am or between 3.30pm and


According to the analysis of more than 600,000 accidents by Churchill, 10,100 primary aged children have been hit by vehicles in the UK since 2017 – around seven a day.

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More than 2,900 accidents have happened during school pick-up and drop off times.

Kirsty Hoad, from Churchill, said the figures highlighted the importance of teaching road safety to children as early as possible.

She added: “With more than half of primary school children walking or cycling to school, this is one obvious area where children will need to know how to stay safe.

“We encourage everyone to take an active role in educating young children in their lives about road safety.”

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She advised motorists to take extra care near schools and said speed restrictions were in place to protect children and should be observed at all times.

Rod Dennis from the RAC called for more 20mph zones to be introduced around schools, saying physical traffic calming measures also played a part in making streets safer.

Mr Dennis added: “There is also a clear onus on drivers who use the car to drop off or pick up their children to think about their driving.”

He said parents could send a positive message to others by walking and cycling to school or parking away from the school gates.

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Nearly a quarter of the incidents recorded nationally resulted in severe injuries, with 36 youngsters killed between 2017 and 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic saw traffic levels fall across the country in 2020, with road traffic accidents dropping as a result – those involving child casualties decreased from around 2,600 in 2019 to 1,750 last year.

A Department for Transport spokesman said any death on the road is “completely unacceptable” and said the Government is focusing on improving safety via its new Road Safety Strategic Framework.

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