Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Brake - Big Walk on Wednesday10th June, 2015

Pupils from Broadford Primary School joined over 100,000 children across the UK taking to the streets on 10 June 2015 as part of Brake's Giant Walk, the road safety charity’s initiative sponsored by Brantano to get children walking and highlight the importance of road safety to children leading active, healthy lives.

Over 100,000 children taking part in the event are walking a combined total of over 60,000 miles, learning about road safety and calling on drivers to ‘GO 20’ in communities to make streets safer for kids to walk and cycle.

Almost half (46%) of UK primary school children are driven to school [1], impacting on children’s health and contributing to congestion and traffic danger. This lack of physical activity is a factor in rising childhood obesity, with three in 10 children in England aged two to 15 now overweight or obese [2]. The World Health Organisation recently warned of a looming obesity epidemic if lifestyles do not change, with three-quarters of men and two-thirds of women in the UK projected to be overweight in 15 years’ time [3].

British kids have expressed their wish to get out and about more on foot and bike, with three quarters (76%) of participants in last year’s Giant Walk saying they want to walk and cycle more, to get to school, go to the park, or to see friends. However, more than half (56%) said they are scared of being run over by traffic when walking or cycling on roads [4].

Brake is campaigning for drivers and government to take action to make streets safer for kids and help them enjoy a healthy, active, happy childhood, by backing Brake's GO 20 campaign. For drivers, this means slowing down to 20mph or less wherever there may be people on foot or bike, and always keeping a look out for vulnerable road users. For government, this means implementing widespread 20mph speed limits in towns, cities and villages – one of the most effective measures identified by the World Health Organisation to reduce pedestrian casualties [5]. 

Mrs Stanley Assistant Head Teacher at Broadford, said “We’re delighted to be taking part in Brake’s Giant Walk. It’s a fantastic opportunity for kids to make their voices heard and promote road safety to children, parents and local drivers. Our pupils will be marching and shouting out loud about the importance of drivers slowing down in our community, so families can enjoy a healthy, fun, active lifestyle without being endangered.”

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “Recent reports have provided a stark warning about the potential consequences of the UK slipping further into a spiral of physical inactivity. The impacts will be felt hardest by our children, who could face a lifetime of poor health and pick up the bill for rising healthcare costs. This crisis can be averted, but we need urgent action.

“As is clear from the thousands taking part in Brake’s Giant Walk today, including pupils from Broadford, kids love to get out and about on foot and bike, and parents want to be able to let them. It is a national scandal that danger from fast traffic often prevents children from having the fun, active, healthy childhoods they deserve. We need drivers to stick to 20mph or less in communities to protect kids. We also continue to campaign for government to make 20mph the national urban default and provided sustained funding for safe walking and cycling infrastructure. Safe active travel should be the norm for all our kids, not a luxury.”

Karen Stanton from Brantano said: "It’s brilliant to see so many schools, parents and children getting involved in this year’s Giant Walk and to have our stores joining in today is a fantastic opportunity. The collaboration with Brake allows us to not only raise awareness of the importance of correctly fitting shoes for children’s foot health but also to reinforce messages about the dangers of roads and the importance of safe road use to both children and parents, as well as promoting the health and environmental benefits of walking and cycling to school."

About Brake’s Giant Walk

Brake’s Giant Walk is an annual event in primary schools where children learn about traffic pollution and danger, and transport choices. Schools taking part get their pupils to walk (in a crocodile of supervised kids, holding hands on safe pavements, or around the school’s grounds) which gives children a voice, helping them tell drivers to slow down and look out for people on foot. Children can be sponsored to take part and schools can run fundraising events, helping fund Brake's campaigns and services for families bereaved and injured by road crashes.

About Brake’s GO 20 campaign

Brake is part of a coalition of organisations calling for more local authorities to adopt widespread 20mph limits, and for the government to make 20mph the national urban default, through its GO 20 campaignTweet us: @Brakecharity, hashtag #GO20.

Why GO 20?

  • Fewer casualties: at 20, drivers have far more time to react in an emergency. Studies show when 20 limits replace 30, there are fewer casualties among pedestrians and cyclists [6].
  • More walking and cycling: danger from traffic is a major barrier in enabling more people to walk and cycle. Town and city-wide 20 limits have resulted in more people walking and cycling [7].
  • Healthier, happier people: More walking and cycling means healthier people, and more enjoyable outdoors activity for kids and adults. It helps communities interact and be communities.
  • Less pollution: GOing 20 means lower emissions from vehicle journeys [8]. Plus if more people can switch their commute or school run to foot or bike, it means less polluting traffic.
  • Lower costs: Poor health from inactivity costs society dearly [9]. Road casualties cost even more, due to the suffering and burden on health and emergency services [10]. Preventing casualties and improving health means GOing 20 pays for itself many times over [11]. It also helps people save money by choosing the cheapest ways to get about: foot and bike.

Advice for parents

Deciding at what age to let children walk or cycle to school unsupervised is a difficult decision for most parents, who are faced with weighing up the benefits of their child living an active lifestyle with the threat of their child being hurt by traffic. Research shows that many are put off letting their child get out and about by traffic danger [12]. Making roads safer helps more parents choose to let children walk or cycle.

Parents who are worried that their child’s route to school isn’t safe enough have a number of options. If it’s possible, they could walk with their child to school, helping to keep them safe, or set up a walking bus with the help of other parents. They could also work with the school to set up a local campaign for safer roads, calling for measures such as 20mph limits, crossings, pavements and paths. They can also check if their child’s school runs practical pedestrian and cyclist training, and encourage them to contact the local authority to provide this if they don’t.

See www.brake.org.uk/families for more advice for parents.


Brake is a national road safety charity 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 road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on Twitter or Facebook


Brantano has stores nationwide and offer an extensive range of shoes and brands to suit all budgets. Offering convenient out of town shopping with most of its stores located on retail parks, the shopping experience is unlike many other traditional footwear shops, as the shoes are displayed in pairs that can be easily selected and tried on immediately. The stores all offer a free fitting service, with staff trained by top brands such as Clarks, Start Rite and Hush Puppies. The team are put through rigorous training followed by at least 25 supervised fits before being given the title of ‘expert fitter’. For more information visit www.brantano.co.uk.

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