More than 40 per cent of parents of five- to 11-year-olds say their child has been involved in a near-miss while walking or cycling to or from school, according to a survey.

Road safety is more of a concern to parents than “stranger danger”, the survey from sustainable transport charity Sustrans also found.  A total of 470 parents who have a child aged five to 11 who travels to and from school were polled.

The survey showed:

Some 18 per cent of parents said their child had experienced a vehicle not stopping or stopping too late at a pedestrian crossing

13 per cent said their child had experienced a speeding vehicle nearly hitting them while crossing the road

5 per cent said their child had been hit by a vehicle while walking

44 per cent said the safety of their child on the road was their biggest concern, compared with 28 per cent whose main concern was the potential danger from a stranger.

Parents said slower speeds, more dedicated walking and cycling routes and safer crossings were among measures that would allow their children to walk and cycle to school more often.

Sustrans has launched its Campaign for Safer Streets, urging parents to write to their MP to demand every child be given 
the right to a safe journey to school.  Sustrans’ chief executive Malcolm Shepherd said: “In 2012, a total of 33 children were killed and more than 1,800 were seriously injured while walking or cycling. If a whole classroom of children had been killed under other circumstances there would be public outcry.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We want people to drive in a safe manner at all times, which is why we recently increased the fixed penalty to £100 for several driving offences.

“We are also encouraging councils to think about cyclists when designing new road schemes and they can also install safer Puffin crossings to detect when pedestrians have safely crossed.”

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