A five-year study into child road casualties has found that children in poorer areas are at greater risk of road accidents than those in affluent districts.
The findings, released yesterday, have prompted Sustrans to call for more people-friendly and safer streets.
The sustainable transport charity believes that through imposing 20 mph speed limits and making simple changes – including positioning trees and plants to slow traffic speed – safety can be increased. In turn, Sustrans believes that will help encourage people out of their cars and onto cycles and foot.
“We know that the more people cycle the safer it becomes, so the answer is not to scare people into their cars but to encourage people out of them," said Alex Allen, Sustrans' expert in redesigning streets.
“This is particularly true of children, who need to play outdoors, walk and cycle when they are young so that they take these healthier habits with them into adulthood. After all, the long-term health problems caused by inactivity far outweigh the risk of walking down the street.”
Allen added: "Too many residential areas are clogged by traffic when they could be safe public spaces where children can play safely outside their front doors and travel independently. It urgently needs to change."