GloWeek – Road Safety Campaign
It’s that time again – the clocks have gone back and the dark mornings and afternoons/evenings are creeping in. Although this time of year brings lots of fun for children, e.g. Diwali, Halloween, bonfire night and Christmas, they also bring increased risk. November, December and January typically see an increase in road traffic collisions on our roads . Although road casualty numbers reduced in each of the last 2 years due to Covid-19 restrictions, the data suggests that in 2021, road casualties showed signs of a return to pre-pandemic trends.
I have a keen interest in promoting road safety because, in my years of working as a child brain injury solicitor, I have sadly seen the devastation that occurs when a child is seriously injured in a road accident. I am also mother to two young children and I am acutely aware of the need to educate them to keep them safe while accessing the community, particularly when crossing roads. So how do we educate our children about road safety and keep them safe while using our roads during these darker months?
The Child Brain Injury Trust (CBIT) run an annual road safety campaign called “BeSeenNotHurt”. Through their campaign, they seek to raise awareness of the increased risk to children and young people on our roads during these darker months. They are encouraged to dress in bright colours, in order to make them more visible to drivers. This year, CBIT have set a challenge to have a conversation with a child or young person about the importance of road safety and being bright when out and about (especially in the dark).
Last night I took up this challenge and conducted an experiment with my two children, aged 7 and 4. We went out into the garden in the dark, armed with a torch and a reflective top, which I use for running in the dark. I stood at the end of the garden and asked them if they could see me without the reflective top, and then with it on. Although they had some fun taking it in turns to shine the torch on me, they understood the serious message that I was so much more visible while wearing the reflective top.
School uniform colours are not conducive to children being seen in the dark, as they are typically darker colours like black and navy. Obviously bright coats and bags can help mitigate this issue and help children to be seen, but some schools dictate that coats and bags must be uniform colours. Whilst it might be possible to persuade younger children to wear a high-vis jacket over their coat during darker months, it will be a much harder sell for parents of older children. Reflective accessories to clip onto school bags such as these from Bright Kidz might be more palatable to older children. Alternatively, reflective textile shapes to stick on coats or bag such as these from The Glow Company.
Supporting CBIT on their campaign
AT BBK, we have worked with CBIT for many years and we have supported them on this important road safety campaign, including helping them to fundraise by entering their Gloweek competition and attending their annual AGloha event.
This year, in my role as Special Ambassador to CBIT, I have been invited to support the CEO, Lisa Turan, and the team at a Parliamentary drop-in Session on 2 November 2022, to help raise awareness of CBIT’s annual road safety prevention campaign. I welcome this opportunity to share my experience of acting for children who have suffered brain injuries in road accidents, to help MPs understand the devastating consequences on the injured child and their family, as well as the difference CBIT makes and how their support helps to improve lives.