Road Safety News

RAC joins the Scouts to promote road safety

Monday 26th October 2015

The RAC has joined forces with The Scout Association to promote road safety to more than 500,000 Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts, Scouts and Explorer Scouts across the UK.

The three year partnership will combine the RAC’s existing road safety campaign, featuring its mascot ‘Horace’, with the Scouts’ current programme.

A major element will be the RAC’s sponsorship of the Cub Scouts’ Road Safety activity badge, but the motoring organisation will also be working to equip Scouts of all ages with the skills to develop as responsible and safe road users.

Hundreds of RAC patrols will visit local Scout groups across the UK to help deliver road safety workshops. This will begin with a campaign for young people to ‘Be bright, Be seen’ following the end of British Summer Time. Other messages will include how to keep ‘road smart’ in the 21st century, the Highway Code, and in-car safety.

The RAC’s new Road Safety Awareness Charity will also raise funds to promote road safety and aims to provide every Cub Scout with a high-visibility vest by 2018.

Jacqui Thompson, RAC road safety champion, said: “This a fantastic opportunity to engage and work with young people to raise awareness of road safety and equip them with the skills to be road smart and develop as responsible and safe road users.

“Together with The Scout Association and the DfT’s THINK! campaign, we can reach drivers and other road users too with responsible and safe driving messages – and bring the number of children killed on UK roads to zero.”

The RAC points to 2014 figures which show an increase in the number of children killed (53, up 10.4% on 2013) or seriously injured (2,029, up 5% on 2013) on UK roads – ending a near 30-year run of decline in child and young person road casualties.

Andrew Jones MP, road safety minister, said: “I welcome the new partnership between the RAC and The Scout Association. Everyone should know the rules of the road and the new road safety badge is a great step towards getting young people interested in helping themselves, and others, to stay safe.”


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It would be helpful if the RAC would indicate what sort of training for this important task will be provided to their patrol people. I would be very surprised if, as too many here seem to assume, the answer would be "none at all".

Oddly enough, on my 200 mile round trip today, I saw an RAC Patrol van and, yes Rod, it was indeed orange as you say. Quite why the web pages I found when I did Google the point still showed blue and white - and how long ago it changed without me noticing, I do not know. So in accordance with my invariable policy, I confirm I was mistaken on that one point and apologise.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (3) | Disagree (1)

Something of an aside, but to answer in part Bill Austin Otley's comment on the Zebra as depicted. It is the crossing adjacent to the Abbey Road Studios (behind the white wall in the background) where the Beatles LP cover showed them crossing on that very same Zebra. Traffic is frequently held up while tourists replicate the 'Beatles' crossing as depicted above.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (4) | Disagree (0)

I have read all these comments and think that in most of them one thing has been forgotten and that is the fact that the RAC is offering this to Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers a very large group of Young People. We do not refer to our members as children, they are Young People. I for one as a Cub Leader with up until recently a Pack of 31 Cubs will be able to have a resource that I can use without any cost to the group and help them towards attaining their Road Safety Badge. Scouting is a charity and the only money that comes in is the small amount we charge each young person to attend the weekly meetings. This has to then pay for any activities that we do and believe it or not when we contact professional people to come to do talks or activities with our groups there is usually a cost. For a lot of groups this then takes away the use of those professional as they cannot afford them. And the badge covers all aspects of road safety and I have never heard anyone say to any of our young people that it is always the drivers fault, when there is a incident on the road then every one involved has had some role to play. I for one in my role of Cub Leader will be looking to see if I can get this to be done with my Cub Pack to help them towards getting the badge. In doing so this will help my Cubs become more road aware. Apart from the comment from another Cub Leader, who of those who have put this down on here would be willing to give their time free of charge to go and help a Scout group with something like this? So remember, this is helping young people, with no cost and in today's society this is a very rare thing.
Delphine Norton Lincolnshire

Agree (7) | Disagree (5)

Tim Philpot wrote “Messrs King and Hodges acknowledge in their most recent posts that they have fabricated the involvement of the RAC in cyclist training, seemingly to discredit the RAC as being inadequate to the task.”

Not so. I quoted Jacqui Thompson, RAC road safety champion, who wrote: “This a fantastic opportunity to engage and work with young people to raise awareness of road safety and equip them with the skills to be road smart and develop as responsible and safe road users."

I then pointed out that, “As many will be cyclists that must mean they intend to address use of the roads as cyclists as well as pedestrians.”

If that is not so then let the RAC say they will not be addressing cycling. If they are to address safe cycling then let them say this will be addressed by people trained and qualified to teach to approved Bikeability standards.

Being a driver, however good, or a regular cyclist does not mean you can teach safe cycling to children or for that matter to adults. Even as a cyclist riding many thousands of miles a year on roads of all classes except motorways, I would not presume to teach other peoples children to ride on the roads without further training to deliver Bikeability.

To point out that RAC Patrols are not, by virtue of being patrols, qualified to deliver road safety training is not to vilify the RAC. Are RAC Patrols, by virtue of that role, qualified as driving instructors? No! And they are not qualified as cycling instructors either.

I say again, I welcome RAC's interest in road safety but not the idea that their patrols are qualified to teach road safety to children.
Matt Hodges, Scorton

Agree (8) | Disagree (5)

With respect to the badge and the whole idea I too am appalled. To me this implies you only cross the road at a pedestrian crossing which is of course absolutely ludicrous, it means you can’t even cross over a suburban side street to meet your fellow scout or country lane unless there is a pedestrian crossing. It also makes a nonsense of a successful experiment in Poynton where a section of road is stated as equal opportunity and requires motorists to give way to pedestrians wherever they are. Overall it has actually reduced the time for vehicles to negotiate a previously busy traffic light controlled crossing where traffic build up would occur while waiting for the lights to change when no vehicles were waiting to cross, or when frustrated pedestrians have pressed the button but then realised there was no traffic coming so crossed anyway. Although there were reservations about blind people having problems these don’t seem to have arisen, and the shopping areas on both sides of the crossing have been revitalised due to the more civilised way of behaving.

Isn’t it time the RAC produced a badge for considerate driving, and more importantly made sure the motorists were worthy of it.
Roy Bradshaw Manchester

Agree (9) | Disagree (3)

I am a National Standards Cycle Instructor and also lead Breeze rides. My bike is my transport although I do occasionally drive. My thoughts are that we are in a situation where society will not move towards walking and cycling as modes of transport until the perceived and actual danger of motorized traffic is lessened. Perhaps that is where the RAC has more expertise and should focus on changing driver behaviour. I have volunteered at a scout group and supported some scouts with a cycling activity. I am also a school governor where I failed to get other governors to see sense with a cycling policy that went beyond permits, high viz and helmets. I have a feeling that the RAC will have a focus on road safety rather than any encouragement to get families walking and on their bikes and out of their cars. RAC please assure me that this is not the case.
Sarah Wood, Farnborough

Agree (11) | Disagree (3)

I'm still not sure why all the people on the zebra crossing are looking away from the danger. Nor why a Zebra has been chosen, most roads are crossed where there are no services to support pedestrians. Surely the picture is a good example of where very little needs to be invested by the RAC or indeed anyone apart from parents and schools. I have no problem with the RAC helping the scouts make the pavements and roads safer, but I very much doubt it will be at Zebra crossings, so the marketing and badge needs to re-thought.
Bill Austin Otley

Agree (6) | Disagree (6)

As a Cub Scout Leader and a local authority Road Safety Officer, I feel this is a great initiative.

AS you might expect, all of my cubs complete their road safety activity badge. However, many cub packs may not. To my knowledge, no-one else funds visitors to the local sections of the Scout Association to provide road safety education.

So in my opinion, any support and encouragement to educate children aged 8-10 years in pedestrian skills, cycle safety or in-car safety is brilliant. These will only be short reminder sessions I'm sure, with the main messages being taught by road safety officers, school and families.

Well done RAC.
Karen Dobson, Derbyshire

Agree (9) | Disagree (6)

Without having access to the material which will be used for this campaign, it is difficult to be sure, but it looks very much like the usual simplistic victim blaming, with no mention whatsoever of the cause, drivers. This will just reinforce the perception that roads belong to drivers, instead of being a community resource for everyone. We need to recognise the cause of the risk and address that, not pointlessly blame the victims.

Perhaps if the children were to go to meetings of drivers and tell them how threatening their behaviour is, and show them pictures of victims of bad driving, it would have more effect? This appears to be a typical car-centric view of road safety. Will the RAC be addressing the cause of the problem not the symptoms?
Richard Burton

Agree (15) | Disagree (5)


You claim that RAC vans are blue and white and AA vans are orange. You are wrong. Try using Google! The RAC brand is orange and the AA is yellow! In fact you may wish to refer to the RAC Brand Toolkit at where it is described as a "deeper, more sophisticated orange". And its used in their logo, their website and their vans. In fact you can see a van of a very similar colour parked on the single yellow line in the above photograph behind the waiting cars!

The RAC Brand Toolkit also notes :-
Promise: The Motorist's Champion
Purpose: Keep motorists moving
Proposition: Membership that makes motoring easier, safer, more affordable and enjoyable.
Strapline: Motorists. We salute you.

Apologies if the above quotes are perceived as “vilification”, but they are not my words but those of the RAC.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (14) | Disagree (3)


My first post merely suggested that rather than reporting child deaths and injuries as if they were solely involved then it might be appropriate to acknowledge that adults have been in charge of the motor vehicles concerned.

My next post just commented on the fact that it was a motoring organisation teaching non-motorists how to be safe on the roads. I did make the assumption that as cycling is a perfectly legitimate, legal and preferable way for children to use roads then any road safety training would include such a mode. I also very tongue-in-cheek asked how people would feel about CTC and Living Streets members conducting driver training.

Following on from the chair's patronising comment about "doing myself and my cause a great disservice" and accusation of being "aggressively anti-driver" I did defend my comment and pointed out the obvious benefits of public sector involvement. I also clarified to you that my point was not that RAC was unsuitable, but merely that questions should be asked about the possibility of transport mode bias. Hardly a vilification.

So let me say it clearly, "I HAVE NOT OPPOSED THE SCHEME", but merely made some observations to which you and the chair have replied with cries of "vilification and aggressively anti-driver sentiments". Neither have been evident in any of my posts.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (15) | Disagree (6)

Tim - your analysis of Rod's methods is spot on and I will save it for future use.

No one was proposing REPLACING professionals, they will be IN ADDITION to them. And in blue and white vehicles not orange - that's the AA! And in view of the time these drivers spend on the roads, including attending breakdowns and accidents, I would have thought them better qualified than most to give advice, especially if given additional training, as the RAC presumably intend.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (4) | Disagree (12)

Messrs King and Hodges acknowledge in their most recent posts that they have fabricated the involvement of the RAC in cyclist training, seemingly to discredit the RAC as being inadequate to the task. What is more astounding than this is the number of people who appear to approve of this tactic.

Rod's opposition to this scheme appears to be based on the principle that if you throw enough mud some will stick. So first it is that drivers not children need the education, then that a motoring organisation cannot be trusted to educate children, then that the problem lies with said organisation's members. Later on we understand the problem is that they are a private not public enterprise, that they are a large corporation with an identity to maintain and lastly and most damningly, they are American. It is abundantly clear that Rod starts from a position of condemnation and then works backwards to find his reasons.

But say he succeeds in stopping this travesty from continuing… who benefits? The RAC save their money, the Scout Association lose a valued service, and all because this does not fit Rod’s vision that all responsibility for avoiding collisions can be apportioned to the authorities and the driving population. His Pavlovian response to anything which doesn’t fit with this vision is to vilify it, regardless of its actual worth.
Tim Philpot

Agree (15) | Disagree (21)

Further to my last comment, according to the RAC themselves, they attend to 2.5 million motorists every year - which is 50,000 a week and far more than any other road safety agency/authority could manage. Would that not be a better way to deliver some, one-to-one safer driving advice?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (19) | Disagree (2)

I agree with Rod and Matt's views. The RAC are more closely allied to motorists, so if they want to get involved with road safety, why not start with their own members who, as motorists, have the greater potential to cause harm to children as pedestrians and cyclists - rather than trying to educate the latter group on how not to be victims?

As for them being qualified, I had the same reservations when Fire and Rescue took it uopn themselves to get involved in road safety education about ten years ago. There was a lot of overlap and disjointed working sometimes as to who was going to do what. Occasoinally, I'd turn up to a road safety event only to find more than one authority or agency trying to do the same thing.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (21) | Disagree (2)

Jacqui Thompson, RAC road safety champion, said: “This a fantastic opportunity to engage and work with young people to raise awareness of road safety and equip them with the skills to be road smart and develop as responsible and safe road users."

As many will be cyclists that must mean they intend to address use of the roads as cyclists as well as pedestrians.

I say again, being an RAC patrol does not qualify one to be a road safety trainer. Some patrols with suitable training my be able to do this well but there is good reason to be concerned when a large organisation pushes employees into an activity for which they are not qualified.

There is a particular problem with training child cyclists as many drivers seem to think anyone who could ride a bike as a child and now drives a car can teach children to ride on the road. This is dangerous rubbish.

I rode a motor scooter in 1960 and have driven cars since 1964. That wouldn't qualify me to teach motor cycling safety today. Why should someone who rode a bike years ago and now drives be thought suitable to teach cycle safety?

I welcome RAC's interest in road safety but not the idea that their patrols are qualified to teach road safety to children.
Matt Hodges, Scorton

Agree (21) | Disagree (3)


You say "This has been one area of activity that many local authority teams have struggled to sustain with budgets being cut". I am sure that you value the involvement of Road Safety Professionals who operate under public authority accountability, scrutiny and objectives, with an understanding of the wider implications of transport mode bias. Yet at the same time see no reason to even question whether replacing those road safety professionals with an army of orange van men who work for a corporation owned by an American private equity firm is appropriate.

Will they be subject to corporate pressure and branding? Well maybe the answer is in the objective for every cub scout to be given a hi-viz vest by 2018. Colour of vest - Orange of course.

Your claim that asking whether such question should be asked is "aggressively anti-driver" is ridiculous. Thanks for the advice on "my cause", but on reflection I feel that I perhaps understand "my cause" with better clarity than you do.

My point was not that RAC patrols are intrinsically unsuitable, but that we should ask the question whether and how they are suitable. You can quite reasonably extend this to ask if they have a transport mode bias and whether this is appropriate or acceptable.

My introduction of walking and cycling was because these are the only independent modes of travel that children have. It seems to me that if you do want them to have better road skills then you should not exclude the very mode (ie cycling) which gives them the greatest mobility.

I am all in favour of children gaining skills in how to best be able to use the roads which are their's to use as much as anyone else's. But in doing so I believe it is reasonable to question the movement of such training from the public to the commercial domain.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (16) | Disagree (6)

Unless I have missed it, there is no mention of delivery of cyclist training in this article, or in the relevant badge syllabus. This has been introduced by Rod in his second post, for no valid reason. Bikeability has established strong standards both for training and instructors and there is no suggestion I can see that the RAC are about to water that down.

It would be nice to think that everyone who trained children in safe walking was themself trained to do so and to a standard akin to Bikeability. But this would rule out most parents, many teachers, and who knows how many other people who could make a positive contribution. Realistically, given the scale of the task, the aim of the road safety profession must be to establish good educational practice, and promote training where possible.

Rod's point seems to be that RAC patrols are intrinsically unsuitable to teach pedestrian safety because of their association with motor traffic. I suspect that if you extended this principle you could find reasons for discounting pretty much anybody.

I don't think anyone with any credibility in the road safety profession doesn't appreciate the importance of improving driving standards and regulating the environment to minimise risk of injury.

The Scout Association, however has for over a hundred years been equipping young people with skills to make them self-reliant. As long as there is moving traffic there will be risk, and as long as there is risk there is a need for self-reliance on the part of pedestrians.
Tim Philpot

Agree (12) | Disagree (9)

As a former primary school governor I used to assist with road safety training for key stage 1 children. I became very disillusioned with the themes followed because they placed all responsibility on the children and left the idea in the kids minds that drivers were in no way to blame if they ran into a child who was on the carriageway. “Roads are for cars, pavements are for children. It’s your fault if you go in the road and a car knocks you down.”

Those ideas learned as children stick and affect attitudes when those children later become drivers. “It’s not my fault. Kids shouldn’t be on the road.”

We see this with the way children were taught the old Cycling Proficiency. They were taught to keep in the edge well away from the cars. Now when cycling totally in accord with “Cyclecraft”, the DfT approved manual for cycling I have been sworn at by drivers and told to get in the ****** edge.

Too many drivers retain the idea that roads belong to cars and pedestrians and cyclists should keep out of their way.

I certainly agree with Rod King’s comment expressing concern at the idea of RAC patrols delivering road safety workshops to teach children about safe walking and cycling. Being an RAC patrol does not qualify one to teach safe walking and cycling. It is a very justifiable concern and Honor Byford is wrong to dismiss it as aggressively anti-driver. I have no objection to the RAC funding safety workshops but those delivering them need to be properly qualified. For cycling safety that means they must be practicing cyclists trained to teach “Bikeability” courses. Anything less and they will be teaching wrong techniques.
Matt Hodges, Scorton

Agree (27) | Disagree (5)

As an engineer my training included inverting a problem to see alternative ways to solve things, and so I embrace road danger removal as much as I can see the need for road danger protection. Indeed in the workplace the practice of risk management has a clear hierarchy which I rarely see applied to the roads. In some industries, Offshore, Air Transport, Marine, Rail, as clear examples, as well as sites overseen by the Health & Safety Commission there are clear understandings about due diligence when dealing with processes and plant which can cause harm. Yet on our roads this seems to go by the board even to the dire or non existent safety audits on which schemes are assessed and delivered. We see 'accident blackspots' (sic) where no one has had Lady Bracknell's ascerbic comment laid at their door "Once is unfortunate, Twice (and more) seems to be culpably careless".

One major flaw with safety campaigns coming from the 'other side' is their difficulty in seeing things from the other perspective. In this sense the Scania campaign for kids safety with the 'fear' approach seems poorly pitched when compared to the Volvo one 'wave to the driver and get a wave back' to lock in the see and be seen proof, which practically guarantees that when you are looking at a driver and they are looking at you, that is pretty much a certainty that you won't be making any other sort of contact.

The appalling Ghost Street video and the effort from the previous year gave the impression of folk let loose with the horror make-up box, and a remit to "scare them witless". Perhaps the UK's folk need to look at what the Irish have been making recently, with humour and clever engaging of the thought process.
Dave Holladay

Agree (26) | Disagree (1)

We are all part of society, each in all sorts of different roles: RAC members and staff and indeed all drivers are also cyclists, pedestrians, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, horse riders, motorcyclists, scout leaders and youth club volunteers, school governors ….etc etc.

I do not see any conflict of interest at all in the RAC contributing to children’s road user education: children need information and practical skills to be able to use our transport systems safely and to make their own travel choices both now and throughout their lives. I welcome this engagement from the RAC to help educate our (and their) children for a lifetime of travel by whatever mode of transport.

More important to us within Road Safety GB is that the content of the package should be appropriate and competently delivered by staff who are properly trained to equip them to train children – which is not their normal job.

I fear, Rod, you have done yourself and your cause a great disservice with this aggressively anti-driver post.
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

Agree (14) | Disagree (25)

So a motoring organisation is being charged with training children how to walk and cycle safely using an army of car mechanics in orange vans. I look forward to Approved Driving Instructors being replaced by a consortium of CTC and Living Streets using their members to train people how to drive safely.

Can anyone else see a conflict of interests inherent in training pedestrians and cyclists by an organisation representing motorists? Perhaps the RAC could point out just how many of their members are involved in crashes and convictions, or is this information they would prefer not to gather?
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (27) | Disagree (9)

I am delighted to see this level of commitment to supporting road user education through the Scouts Association and their road safety activity badge programmes. This has been one area of activity that many local authority teams have struggled to sustain with budgets being cut. Support from the RAC over a period of years and the potential for further input through their charity foundation is very welcome. Let's hope we will see a similar arrangement with the Brownies and Guides too?
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

Agree (6) | Disagree (17)

The RAC points to 2014 figures which show an increase in the number of adults who have killed children (53, up 10.4% on 2013) or seriously injured them (2,029, up 5% on 2013) on UK roads – ending a near 30-year run of decline in adult drivers involved in child and young person road casualties.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (25) | Disagree (7)