WITH the school run about to return, road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist is urging all parents and children to take extra care on their journeys.
As the new school year approaches GEM says it's vital that everyone - from toddler to senior citizen - is aware of the risks that go with using our roads.
According to Government figures more than 130 children die and another 4,500 are seriously injured every year while cycling or walking on the UK's roads and 20 per cent of all injuries occur on school journeys.
GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: "Every child needs to learn how to use the roads safely, whether walking or cycling, and later when driving.
"But road accidents remain a leading cause of accidental death for children, and we know they can cause life-changing injuries. Figures show that pedestrian casualties peak at the age of 11 to 12. For cyclists, the most vulnerable age is 14.
"That's why it is so important for us all to take responsibility - not just for our own safety but for the safety of any children who share the roads with us - and find ways to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries."
Below are some tips from GEM parents and their children as the new school year begins:
1. It's cool to be bright: kit your kids out with high visibility fluorescent or reflective jackets, vests or belts.
2. If you drive to school, please allow plenty of time to park safely and legally. Don't pull up on zig-zag lines outside a school, and respect local residents by not blocking driveways and access points.
3. Find out about any local safe walking initiatives that may operate at your child's school. Team up with neighbours and walk together.
4. Brush up your knowledge of the Highway Code, and establish safe routes and safe places to cross any roads.
5. Respect speed limits. Many areas around schools are subject to 20mph speed limits (either permanent or timed), and you will face a £100 fine and three points on your licence if you are caught speeding.
6. Respect the school crossing patrol. Be patient and always be prepared to stop. Remember, it's an offence not to stop at a patrol's signal.
7. If you drive older children but they don't need escorting into the school premises, always make sure they get out of the car in a safe location, and never let them step out into the road instead of the pavement.