fb-trackingSkip to main content

Road safety issues

Emergency road safety issues

If you or another person are at immediate risk of harm you should call the police on 999. If it's a non-emergency situation you can call the police on 101 or report it online.

If vehicles are being driven dangerously or breaking the speed limit, this should be reported to the police, the council has no power to respond.

Report a non-emergency crime

Road safety for children

Safer routes to school

The safer routes to school initiative promotes safer and healthier ways of getting to and from school with particular emphasis on walking and cycling. To achieve this, we need to improve conditions (both in safety and the environment) on the main walking and cycling routes to school. Schemes can include physical measures such as safer crossing points and may involve work within the school grounds.

Projects involve the investigation of school travel patterns. These are usually carried out with the commitment to a school travel plan. This identifies engineering and educational measures required to improve safety and reduce car use on the route between home and school.

These measures can be considered as part of a safer routes project and may include:

  • pedestrian crossings, improved pavements
  • school zones, traffic calming, parking restrictions
  • cycle routes and cycle parking
  • road safety education, training and publicity
  • health information
  • personal security advice

If you live close enough, encourage your children to walk to school. It will help them keep fit, be alert and become more streetwise. You can also provide bright and reflective clothing, supportive shoes and a bright backpack. 

Walking bus

For younger children, either walk with your children or get together with other parents and take it in turns to accompany other children (this is often called a walking bus). A walking bus is an initiative to encourage more children, accompanied by adults, to walk to school. This can reduce traffic and congestion outside schools.

Walking as a group and using an agreed route, the children are under the supervision of at least 2 responsible adults – a driver and conductor – who are known to the school. Any volunteers involved with a walking bus have to complete a police criminal background check.

Some walking buses operate every school day while others operate 1 or 2 days a week; this depends on the number of adult volunteers involved. Our Road Safety Team will risk-assess routes and provide necessary training for all volunteers. Children and adults involved in a walking bus must wear reflective vests, which are supplied free of charge by the Road Safety Office.

Child road safety and child cycling

Children should be aware of the Green Cross Code

If your child is a cyclist, the bicycle must be the right size for your child; if it is too big or small, it is dangerous. To check, make sure your child can touch the ground with both feet.

Children under the age of 9 should not be allowed to cycle alone on roads. As soon as your child is old enough, make sure they are trained on a safe cycling course.

Children in cars

Injuries to children in cars can be significantly reduced with the use of a suitable child restraint.

There is a wide range of child restraints available. You must make sure they meet the latest safety regulations and buy new restraints because second-hand seats may have been damaged. If a seat has been damaged, it could cause serious injuries to a child.

Do not under any circumstances use any child car seat on a passenger seat fitted with an airbag (unless your manufacturer has said it is safe for the airbag to be disabled). Read more about car seat safety.

Road safety for pre-school children – ages 1 to 4

Small children cannot cope with traffic on their own. Your child should always be accompanied by a responsible adult.

When you go out with your child, make sure they walk on the inside of the pavement, keeping tight hold of their hand. It is a good idea to talk to your child about the importance of stopping at the kerb and looking and listening.

Key points to remember are:

  • Children learn by example
  • Talk to your child about roads and traffic and explain that small or slow vehicles can be just as dangerous as big or fast ones
  • Explain and show your child the difference between roads and pavements, explaining that roads are for traffic, pavements are for people to walk on

Primary and Junior school children – ages 5 to 10

Whenever you take your child out walking, tell them what you are doing and why. Practice crossing the road safely on quiet roads near your home. First show them what to do. Then let your child lead you across; finally let them cross the road while you wait behind watching carefully.

Once you are confident that your child knows how to cross quiet roads safely, start practising on busier roads together. Make sure that you test them many times before letting them cross roads alone.

Your child should know the Green Cross Code by this time.

Secondary school children – ages 11 to 16

This is the age where children are at greater risk on roads. When your child first starts secondary school they might be travelling on their own for the first time, and they will probably be travelling longer distances. You are the best person to prepare them for this.

Make sure your child is comfortable with the route they have to take, which transport they need to use and what to do if that transport is not running. Encourage them to think for themselves and not be led by others.

Road safety for pedestrians

The Highway Code has rules and advice for staying safe as a pedestrian. Parents should also teach their children the Green Cross Code.

We receive many requests each year for new pedestrian road crossings. To best use our financial resources, each site is surveyed and the results compared with national criteria to identify the most needy locations.

The main factors measured are the number of people crossing and the amount of traffic. Other factors include the number of injures on the road near the site and local features such as hospitals, schools and shops. A list is then drawn up in order of priority with the worst site for pedestrians at the top of the list.

Cycle training and road safety for cyclists

Cycle training and road safety for cyclists

Free cycle training

Cycling on roads requires competence and confidence.

The council offers free cycling training to anyone who lives, works or studies in the borough.

Road safety for cyclists

Cycling in heavy traffic is extremely dangerous. It is vital that all cyclists are aware of any dangers that may occur and are knowledgeable about maintaining their bike.

Read a summary of the rules for cyclists including advice on bike maintenance and safe behaviour on the road.

Cycling in Barking and Dagenham

Cycling is cheap, reliable, direct, environmentally friendly, and ideally suited to urban areas. It can benefit the local economy, reduce congestion on our roads, improve air quality and improve our personal fitness through regular exercise.

Following our recognition as an Outer London Biking borough, funding was provided by Transport for London (TfL) to develop a comprehensive cycling strategy as part of the project. The main aims are:

  • to raise awareness of the benefits and availability of cycling
  • to meet the demand of cyclists by providing adequate facilities, interchanges and direct routes with a network which covers the whole borough
  • to enable all cyclists to do so safely and confidently with training, equipment and advice
  • to improve attitudes of other road users to cyclists by increasing awareness and improving cyclists' behaviour through training
  • to integrate cycling into all development, planning and public initiatives
  • to communicate within the council and with stakeholders to both promote and ensure the most appropriate schemes
  • to monitor cycling levels, attitudes and implications of schemes

Route maps offer a detailed map of the borough showing all the cycle lanes. Route maps also offer advice on cycling and safety.

Transport for London provides more useful information about cycling including a plan your journey option.

Cycle lighting

Cycle lighting is an important and legal requirement when it’s dark or when visibility is seriously reduced. To ride when it's dark your bike must have a working white front light, a red rear light and a red rear reflector.

By law, new bikes must be fitted with wheel and pedal reflectors and it is a good idea to upgrade older bikes too. All legal lights and reflectors will be marked with the latest safety standard. Pedal reflectors must be amber. Front reflectors are not essential, but if you have one, it must be white and facing forward.

Reflectors will not work when they are dirty, so keep them clean. Reflectors are not replacements for proper lights.

Cycle helmets

Cycling’s greatest danger is head injuries, and a helmet is your best defence. New helmets are far better than older models, with advances in materials making them light, comfortable, stylish and safe.

If you already own a helmet, check it fits correctly. Make sure that it feels snug and comfortable, allows clear all-round vision and hearing. It should not cover your eyes or ears, make sure it fits squarely on your head and it doesn't tilt forwards or backwards, and make sure it's well ventilated.

Most importantly, if it takes a hard knock, it is likely to be damaged. Don’t take a risk – buy a new helmet.



Road safety for drivers

Driving is an everyday activity for many people but it is not without its risks. Here is some information for drivers to help you keep yourself and others safe:

Qualified drivers should keep their windscreen clean to avoid glare, and you should not drive when you're tired or ill. Always check if any medication you are on can affect your driving, avoid drinking alcohol and driving, and never drive more than 2 hours without a break. Read more about driving laws.

Report a faulty street light

Street lighting

We look after most street lights in the borough. We are not responsible for street lights in unadopted roads or private roads. These are the responsibility of the private landlord or housing trust.

When you tell us about a faulty street light, you should tell us the street or road name and the house or property nearest to the light. Street lighting columns are numbered so, if you can, give us the lamp column number (this will be a number such as A01 and it will be about 3 metres up the column).

Use our form to report faulty lights.

Report a faulty street light

Repairs to normal faults will be completed within 5 working days of the contractor receiving the information. For emergency situations the contractor will be on site within 2 hours of the report.

For situations where there is a greater risk of danger but it's not an emergency (for example there's a problem with lights on pedestrian crossings, busy road junctions or flights of steps), attendance on site will be arranged within 24 hours.

Traffic lights

Traffic lights are the responsibility of Transport for London, which has a form for reporting street issues, including faulty traffic lights. Select Traffic lights and signals from the drop-down list under What's your enquiry about?

Report faulty traffic lights

Speed limits and speed checks

Speed limits

Speed is a significant factor in about one third of road accidents, particularly in urban areas, where speeding vehicles affect the quality of life of many communities.

Speed limits are introduced to ensure greater road safety. Measures for influencing the speed of vehicles generally fall into 2 categories – legislative and physical. Speed limits fall into the first category, whereas traffic calming devices fall into the second.

Comprehensive information on the speed limits you would expect to come across on the different categories of road is in The Highway Code.

If a road has a system of street lighting on it with no speed limit repeater signs, the road is already subject to 30 mph and as such the highways authority is not permitted to place 30 mph repeater signs on it. The system of street lighting in a built up area should be sufficient evidence of a 30 mph limit.

In urban areas, speed limits should fit into a rational and easily understood hierarchy if they are to be observed by drivers. Before deciding to change an existing speed limit, the highways authority must consider all these factors:

  • expected accident savings
  • improvement to the environment
  • improvement in amenities
  • reduction in public anxiety
  • improved facilities for vulnerable road users
  • delays to traffic
  • costs of implementation
  • costs of engineering measures and their maintenance
  • costs of enforcement, especially where the speed limit is regarded as unreasonable by drivers

If a change in the speed limit is warranted, a new speed limit order has to be made. This involves a statutory legal process that takes approximately 9 months to complete.

Speed checks

Accident risk increases the faster a driver travels. At 25% above the average speed, a driver is about 6 times more likely to have an accident than a driver travelling at the average speed.

It has been proved nationally that traffic cameras can reduce the number of road crashes and protect road users by encouraging people to drive more slowly.

When a driver breaks the speed limit, safety cameras detect the offence and provide evidence for a fixed penalty notice. Drivers who exceed the legal speed limits will incur a minimum penalty of £100 and 3 penalty points on their driving licence. Find out more about speeding fines.

Fixed cameras are located where 4 or more fatal or serious injury accidents have occurred in the last 3 years.