CHILDREN in the poorest communities are more likely to be involved in a road accident than those in the most affluent areas according to new research.

Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, has found that children travelling on foot or by bike in the 20% most deprived areas are three times as likely to be in a collision with a vehicle than those in the 20% least deprived areas.

Even though car ownership is low in deprived areas children are more likely to be hit by a vehicle as roads can still be busy with non local residents driving through.

The campaign group compared data for road accidents involving children with multiple deprivation statistics and came up with the results it said were worrying.

Alexander Quayle, Sustrans Policy Officer, said: “Though it is well-established that there are more road traffic accidents in more deprived areas, we have been researching specifically children travelling actively on foot or by bike.”

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The group wants improved safety measures to protect children and promote safer walking and cycling.

It calls for a reduction in speed limits to make roads safer for pedestrians.

It also wants more segregated cycle lanes which give cyclists their own space separate from other road traffic, not shared with buses and taxis.

Mr Quayle, added: “We need more widespread high-quality infrastructure and lower speeds in streets to make children and young people safer, especially in deprived areas.”

After analysing the data, Sustrans reached several conclusions including;

“Deprived areas are often denser and busier, so you might expect more casualties as there are more people around.

“Deprived areas are more likely to host busy and fast roads that are more dangerous.

“Car ownership is likely to be low in these areas, though the number of cars driving through might be high, which means that more people are out on foot or a bike on the way to school or work.

“There may be a lack of investment in infrastructure and local people may not have the time or resources to complain or organise a response.”

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Statistics show that across Scotland fatal and serious accidents involving children have been declining but still show a high number of incidents.

An average of 6 children a year were killed in the 2015-2017 period, a 61% reduction since the 2004-2008 average .

There were 152 children recorded as seriously injured in 2017 which is a 53% reduction since the 2004-08 average.

Sustrans said the figures show the need for more action and investment in safety measures

Mr Quayle said: “The most effective preventative measures are safe infrastructure and slower speed limits.”

Sustrans states: “Evidence shows pedestrian safety requires appropriate crossings, wide pavements and comfortable walking routes. And for cycling, protected space offers the biggest improvement.

“Protecting children from cars means that we need to slow down cars. Slower streets reduce both the number and severity of collisions.

“The implementation of 20mph has been particularly effective in deprived communities, where it halved casualties in the most deprived areas of London.

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“There is a need for more research to better understand the causes of this inequality.”

Mr Quayle added: “If we want more people to choose walking and cycling, and children seeing the health benefits of active travel to school, we need to make our streets safer places, especially in Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas.”