Every day, 1.8 billion children make the journey to school and home again. Every day, 500 don’t make it. They die in a road crash. That’s two primary schools of children. Every day. Many more children suffer life-changing injuries such as paralysis or head injury, or respiratory conditions as a result of air pollution from traffic in our cities.
Brake works within its own strategies, including its engagement strategy, which adopts an inspire-engage-act model. We also have a global strategy that is similar in approach, and an information and advice strategy, which ensures that we follow good procedures when preparing resources such as websites, inclusive of testing and evaluation.
Vision and aims
The vision of Zebras is a world where all children can enjoy safe and healthy journeys. This matches Brake’s vision of a world of transport that is “safe, green, healthy and fair.”
Brake’s aims are to:
Achieve infrastructure for walking and cycling, segregated safely from roads, where children live and go to school.
Reduce traffic and its pollution.
Slow down traffic.
Raise awareness of impaired and distracted drivers.
Enable children and their carers to embrace and speak up for sustainable mobility.
For several years, Brake has successfully used a zebra mascot for its community road safety work in the UK. Our mascot Zak the Zebra has attended many events, including community photo calls seeking lower speed limits or crossings, and community fundraising initiatives in aid of Brake. Zak the Zebra has proved a popular and positive mascot, inducing a sense of positivity and community spirit around road safety.
Zebras are associated with zebra crossings, which are in nearly all parts of the road where there are roads, inclusive of low- and middle-income countries. From Bangladesh to South Africa, from Japan to Bolivia, black and white stripes are associated with the rights of people to move around on foot. While the word zebra is not the same in every nation, it is the same in English, French and Russian, which are three of the six UN languages, and covers many of the peoples of the world. Zebras are used by many road safety campaigns, from Singapore to Bolivia. In Paz, Bolivia, road safety volunteers dress up in zebra suits and help people to cross the road. These volunteers describe the zebras as representing “love, humility and respect”.
Zebras are also interesting animals that appeal to children. The scouting movement has successfully anthropomorphised many animals (cubs, beavers, etc.) to create movements of children. Zebras can be seen in such a light. We are creating a movement of children who are “zebras”; coming together to support global road safety initiatives that focus on the rights of children to walk and cycle in safety and with clean air.