4,000 South East schoolchildren march for safer roads as 50 children from the region are killed or injured on roads every week

  • Schools across the region take part in Brake’s Kids Walk with Shaun the Sheep
  • Brake, the road safety charity highlights extent of road danger for children – data available by local authority area
  • Region has the highest rate of child road casualties in the UK – 2,327 in 2019
  • Kent has greatest number of child road casualties in the South East – on average 585 children are killed or injured each year
Brakes Kids Walk 2019 St Josephs Durham jpg
Children at St Josephs in Durham do the 2019 Brake Kids walk campaignign for road safety

Around 4,000 kids from across the South East will take to the streets around their schools on Wednesday 16 June to raise awareness of the 50 children who are killed or injured on the region’s roads every week.

The children aged between 4 and 11, are among more than 50,000 across the UK who are taking part in Brake’s Kids Walk with Shaun the Sheep. The national project, run by road safety charity Brake in partnership with insurance company esure, sees Shaun and his flock help youngsters learn key road safety messages and call on their grown-ups to make roads safer, so more children can enjoy the health and planet-saving benefits of walking, riding or scooting to school.

To coincide with the launch of the walk, Brake has highlighted the true extent of child casualties on the region’s roads.

Latest Department for Transport (DfT) figures1 for 2019 show that Kent has the highest incidence of child road casualties with an average of 585 across the previous five years. In 2019 Kent (excluding Medway Towns) reported 524 casualties, which is the lowest in five years and a drop of nearly 20% from 2017 (653). The local authorities with the fewest child road casualties are Reading and West Berkshire, who both average 37 casualties a year.

Kent is followed by Hampshire (excluding Portsmouth and Southampton) and Surrey in the number of child road casualties; Hampshire reported 303 in 2019, a decline of 11% from 2015 (340), and Surrey recorded 315, a decline of 24% from its 2015 figure (416).

Despite the fact that the South East records more child road casualties than any other part of the UK, across the region the numbers are in a steady, slow decline; East Sussex has reduced its figures by 19% in the past five years to 166 in 2019, and the Isle of Wight has slashed its rates by almost half, from 57 in 2015 to 28 in 2019. Unfortunately, Bracknell Forest hasn’t followed this pattern, with an increase of 30% up to 22 child road casualties in 2019.

Schools and nurseries from the region are joining the nationwide campaign, calling for five key measures to enable children to make safe and healthy journeys: footpaths, cycle paths, safe places to cross, slow traffic and clean traffic.

Short, supervised walks are taking place on the 16th June at or around schools and nurseries. Children will walk in a crocodile formation and hold hands to highlight the importance of being able to walk without fear or threat from traffic.

Schools can also run special road-safety-themed assemblies, lessons and fun activities, using free resources from Brake and featuring Shaun the Sheep and his friends. Resources are available to any parent, carer or teacher to download for free at www.brake.org.uk/kidswalk. The event can also be used to fundraise for Brake, which supports families who have lost loved ones in road crashes.

Brake’s Kids Walk 2021 is sponsored by esure.

Aardman Animations have kindly lent their imagery of Shaun the Sheep and friends to support this campaign.

Scott Williams, head of programme delivery at Brake, said: “It’s every child’s right to be able to walk in their community without fear of traffic and pollution. Throughout the pandemic families have taken to the streets on foot and by bike and we hope these activities will continue as restrictions lift and ordinary road traffic returns. It is vital that children are able to walk safely in the places where they live. Although numbers of children killed or injured in the South East shows positive signs of decline, every road death or injury is one too many and causes devastation for families, schools and communities. This year we hope to inspire as many children, schools and families as possible to call for safe and healthy journeys for children through our Brake’s Kids Walk event.”

David McMillan, CEO at esure Group added: “We are thrilled to have partnered with Brake to sponsor this year’s event as we believe in the importance of road safety for children everywhere. We want to be a force for good and make a real difference by focusing on better and safer driving. Brake’s Kids Walk is an important opportunity to raise awareness about road safety messages.”

Becky Wycherley, Headteaher at Springfield Infant School and Nursery, Sackville Road, Worthing commented: “Springfield Infant School and Nursery are delighted to take part in the Brake Kids Walk on Wednesday to promote our responsibility and commitment to road safety.  Road safety is part of our curriculum, and we pride ourselves on ensuring children know how to keep safe when walking to and from school.   We continually encourage parents and members of our local community to abide by road safety rules and make them aware of the dangers and how to keep their children safe.  Our school is on a busy residential road and we have made huge efforts to make posters, put signs up and communicate via newsletters on the importance of driving slowly and carefully and parking in appropriate places.  We are fully supported by parents and this Kids Walk opportunity will reinforce our knowledge as well as making learning about safety fun. It is every child’s right to be able to walk safely to and from school and we will do everything to make that happen.”

brakes walk for raod safetyReported child casualties for the South East by severity and local authority, England 2015 – 2019, Department for Transport 2021

Local Authority 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Yearly Average
Bracknell Forest 17 21 14 19 22 19
Brighton & Hove 74 77 80 65 54 70
Buckinghamshire excl Milton Keynes 119 115 103 88 104 106
East Sussex excl Brighton & Hove 204 185 178 179 166 182
Hampshire excl Portsmouth and Southampton 340 320 354 330 303 329
Isle of Wight 57 43 35 30 28 39
Kent excl Medway Towns 533 639 653 576 524 585
Medway Towns 113 110 133 112 96 113
Milton Keynes 84 88 70 72 70 77
Oxfordshire 161 162 123 135 114 139
Portsmouth 81 75 78 72 78 77
Reading 42 41 34 34 34 37
Slough 62 92 59 52 44 62
Southampton 80 80 83 79 61 77
Surrey 416 351 358 348 315 358
West Berkshire 34 46 35 32 37 37
West Sussex 243 232 212 240 227 231
Windsor and Maidenhead 36 29 23 31 23 28
Wokingham 33 26 30 29 27 29
Total 2,729 2,732 2,655 2,523 2,327 2,593


About Brake, the road safety charity

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes safe and healthy road use, road safety education and effective road safety policies through campaigns and projects for communities, schools and in the workplace. Brake delivers the UK’s biggest road safety campaign every November, Road Safety Week. It is a national, government-funded provider of care and support to victims of road crashes and their families through a helpline service and resources.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.