Road casualties: Safer routes to school for children in Wales call
Campaigners are demanding safer routes to school as figures show a third of pedestrian casualties in road accidents in Wales last year were children.
295 child pedestrians died or were injured and the latest Welsh government statistics indicate one in four incidents were on the way to or from school.
It has prompted calls for ministers to ensure safer walking routes to school.
The Welsh government has been asked to respond.
A total of 203 pedestrians were killed or seriously injured last year in Wales, a 79% reduction since 1979 and the lowest figure over the 34 year period.
53 children were killed or seriously injured in 2012, 35% lower than in 2011 and 85% below the 1979 figure.
End Quote Matt Hemsley Sustrans Cymru
We need slower speed limits and safer routes so our kids can travel to school safely and build healthy habits for a lifetime”
But Tony Armstrong from the charity Living Streets said although there had been big drop in casualties, there was a danger of complacency.
"The significant reduction in the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured in Wales is most welcome, but children are still accounting for over a third (34%) of all pedestrian casualties," he said.
"Worryingly, a quarter of those incidents happen on the way to or from school."
Mr Armstrong said future Welsh government legislation requiring local councils to make walking or cycling easier could ensure many more child deaths are avoided.
- In 2012, the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured totalled 203 - their lowest levels since 1979
- Since 1979, the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured has dropped by 79%
- Child pedestrian casualties account for around a third of all pedestrian casualties - a figure that has "fluctuated little" since 1979
- There were 242 child slight injuries giving a total of 295 child pedestrian casualties of all severities.
- The number of child pedestrian casualties was 53 in 2012, 35% lower than the previous year and 85% lower than in 1979
- Around one in four of all child pedestrian casualties are reported to be school pupils on a journey to or from school
- The relative risk is highest for boys aged eight to 11 and girls in the 12 to 15 year old age band
- Source: Welsh government statistics - Pedestrian Road Casualties 2012
The Active Travel Bill is currently working its way through the assembly.
"With 35% of children in Wales aged 2-15 overweight or obese, we know the Welsh government is committed to encouraging children to be more active," he said.
"The Active Travel Bill is an opportunity for the Welsh government to prioritise pedestrians, ensuring safe walking routes to and from schools with lower traffic speeds, keeping our children safe today and healthier in the future."'Healthy habits'
Sustrans Cymru, which promotes sustainable travel, said it was a "tragedy" that "so few" children could enjoy the benefits of daily exercise and the "freedom" of walking to school.
Spokesman Matt Hemsley said: "Kids who walk to school are healthier, more confident and perform better in their lessons but how can we expect parents to encourage a healthy commute when the risks are so high?
"We welcome the government's ambition in the new road safety framework to reach a target of zero fatalities but to achieve this we need slower speed limits and safer routes so our kids can travel to school safely and build healthy habits for a lifetime."
Pedestrian casualties for adults are associated with times when individuals leave work, or leave public houses and night clubs, according to the statistics.