King of the Keyboards Rick Wakeman is supporting a national cartoon campaign to stop schoolchildren dying on our roads.
Rick said: “More than 85,000 children were either killed or injured in road accidents in the UK within 500 metres of a school over a six year period. We need to work to stop this now.”
The former Yes man, who survived an horrific high-speed crash on the M40 a decade ago, is supporting the not-for-profit organisation behind The Conies, a family of cartoon characters that provide safety role models for children. They are the new ‘Safety Heroes for Kids’ after the Green Cross Code man and Tufty the Squirrel.
The number of under-15s killed on UK roads went up by 28 per cent in 2016, the highest number since 2009, according to Department for Transport figures.
Fay Goodman, DriveSafe director, said: “This is shocking news. Contrary to the Government’s response, the annual figure for child deaths and serious injuries on the roads has been rising in recent years following 20 years of year-on-year falls since 1995. We urgently need to do more to keep our children safe particularly in the face of dangerous driving behavior and parking around school gates.”
Fay says she created The Conies as a registered charity to help keep children safe: “We wanted to educate primary school children in road safety with the help of fun characters they could identify with. The Conies feature in our workbooks for schools which embrace issues from how to get to school safely on foot or by bus, car or bike to managing distractions and stranger danger.”
Rick has recently judged finals for the DriveSafe & StaySafe road safety song contest. Delves Infant School in Walsall won the competition for their rap song It’s All About Road Safety. Finalists were told their songs would be recorded as EPs by professional musicians and video producers from Birmingham-based Goodmedia Ltd.
The road safety training concept was piloted earlier this year to 3,300 primary school children in high-risk areas of Birmingham who learned safety messages from a Conies ‘Walking to School Safely’ workbook. The pilot proved so successful that it is to be rolled out to three more areas of the city in January 2018.
Fay added: “With the support of the Birmingham Community Safety Partnership, we aim to bring our Walking to School Safely journal to the wider Midlands.”
Recently, Fay and her organisation highlighted terrifying of evidence of children playing chicken,
Now Fay is demanding the Government launches a child safety education campaign.
She said: “I am horrified by police reports from across the UK of groups of children as young as five risking their lives by daring each other to lie down in the road.
“It’s a crying shame that we don’t have national public safety campaigns any more. Risky activities like these show that child safety education needs a massive boost. Teaching children simple check points and tips will make all the difference to accident prevention.”
The Conies are a family of cartoon traffic cones that educate children in road and personal safety.
Teachers participating in a Conies ‘Walking to School Safely’ pilot scheme in 27 Birmingham primary schools this year said it produced a 100% improvement in road safety awareness. Eighty percent of them admitted that they had not undertaken structured road safety education prior to the pilot.