LOCAL schoolchildren joined South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard and Barnsley-born Olympic gold medalist Ed Clancy to support Road Safety Week in a bid to reduce the number of people killed or injured as a result of a collision - following a recent spike in deaths on the town’s roads.

Organised by the charity Brake, the theme for 2023 was ‘speed’ and members of the South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership (SYSRP) helped highlight the dangers of excessive and inappropriate speed.

Barnsley primary schoolchildren joined the pair last week to take part in road safety scenarios.

Mr Coppard said: “I fully support Brake’s campaign which ultimately comes down to saving lives on our roads.( “Our communities deserve to feel safe which will only happen if we can put an end to the illegal, reckless and irresponsible behaviour associated with excess speed.( “I am proud to be part of this conversation and I encourage all road users to do the right thing and travel to the speed limit.

“Education is a key part of our work across the Safer Roads Partnership to reduce the number of people killed or hurt in a collision.”

A total of 75 people have died on Barnsley’s roads as a result of a collision since 2012, with considerably more occurring in the last five years.

The figures, from the Department for Transport (DfT), show eight people died last year - a 60 per cent hike on the previous year’s five fatalities.

“This is simply not acceptable,” Mr Coppard added.

“Speed limits are there for a reason and the only way we will ever prevent unnecessary grief and loss, is if we all take responsibility for safe and legal road use.”

It has prompted Barnsley Council and South Yorkshire Police to sign up to Vision Zero, a scheme which has a target of a 50 per cent reduction by 2030 before attempting to hit a zero-death target 20 years later.

Through the Vision Zero strategy, members of the partnership deliver road safety education programmes, casualty reduction travel schemes, investments in road improvements and public engagement through behaviour change campaigns.

Coun James Higginbottom, cabinet spokesperson for environment and highways, said: “Barnsley Council is pleased to once again be supporting National Road Safety Week and promoting the importance of driving safely.

“We are committed to working alongside our partners in the Safer Road Partnership to improve safety for all road users in Barnsley and working towards achieving our ambitious target of zero fatalities on our roads by 2050.”

The SYSRP have been praised by Brake for their commitment to lowering the number of deaths and collisions on the town’s roads.

Lucy Straker, campaigns manager for the charity, added: “Five people die on UK roads every day, so why do we still think it’s okay to speed?

“Every time we drive faster than the speed limit, or too fast for the road conditions, we increase the risk of a crash - and we increase the chance that someone we love will be killed or hurt on a road.( “Whoever you are, however you travel, we need to talk about speed and I’m grateful to South Yorkshire’s Safer Roads Partnership for being part of the conversation.”