Lollipoppers still guardians of the school crossing

22nd March 2016

Research by motor insurance specialists, Churchill Insurance, identifies lollipop men and women as the safest school crossing option according to parents and children

  • 95 per cent of parents and 88 per cent of children (aged 5 - 11) feel safer knowing there is a lollipopper present on their route to school
  • 91 per cent of parents see a lollipopper as being safer than a zebra or pedestrian crossing
  • However, 32 per cent of parents said a lollipopper had recently been removed from their local area - with no suitable replacement

Research by Churchill Insurance has revealed that lollipop men and women ('lollipoppers') are seen as the safest school crossing option by parents and children, with nine out of ten (92 per cent) believing that every school should have a one.

With 46 per cent of children (aged 5 - 10) walking to school and child pedestrian casualties most common during the school run - 55 per cent occurring during weekdays 8-9 am and 3-5 pm (Road Safety Analysis, 2016) - Churchill commissioned the research to investigate the opinions of parents and primary school children about safe school road crossings.

Although safe road crossings for children should be of paramount importance, over one third (35 per cent) of parents stated that they felt road safety at their local school had worsened in the past five years with a further 46 per cent declaring that their local council should spend more time and money on road safety around schools.

Of the three school crossing options available - lollipopper, zebra and pelican crossings - the research revealed that 91 per cent of parents see lollipoppers as being the safest option for their children. Over half (57 per cent) even admitted they would choose one school over another based on the presence of a lollipopper.

Following UK legislation in 2000 stating that lollipoppers were no longer a legal requirement for schools, an increasing number of the iconic lollipop men and women have been taken off the road in recent years. One-third (32 per cent) of parents went on to reveal that a lollipopper had recently been removed from their local area with a further 61 per cent stating no crossing alternative had been put in place.

Over two-thirds (67 per cent) of children admitted that they would use a road crossing on their own is a parent wasn't present and a further 12 per cent revealed that they would 'make a break for it' in-between traffic. Coupled with the many distractions a child experiences during the school run - notably playing with friends (84 per cent), mobile phones (65 per cent) and using a 'segway' or hoverboard (17 per cent) - the presence of a lollipopper to marshal road crossings during the school run becomes explicitly clear.

Fortunately, the research findings highlighted that 88 per cent of children felt safer crossing the road with a lollipopper present with a further 64 per cent seeing them as a member of the community they can trust.

Even children without a lollipopper admitted that they wished they had one (79 per cent), whilst 89 per cent of all children felt strongly that every school in the UK should have a lollipopper.

Commenting on the research and findings, Kelly Cook, head of motor claims at Churchill Insurance, said: "The safety and wellbeing of children during the school run is so important to schools and parents with road crossings a critical part of the daily journey.

With child pedestrian casualties during the school run still an issue in the UK, we wanted to gather the opinion of both parents and children to investigate what they see as being the safest option. Although no longer a legal requirement for schools, it is great to see that the apparently evergreen lollipopper is still valued as the safest option for parents and children but concerning that many have noticed their numbers diminishing in recent years."

Mike Bristow, spokesperson for Brake, the road safety charity: "School crossing patrols are an important service, highly valued by communities, ensuing children can cross roads near their schools safely, without fear from traffic. With a decreasing number of lollipop men and women on the roads, the safety and lives of children are being put at risk as other school crossing alternatives don't offer the same level of vigilance and care. With the highest rates of child pedestrian casualties in the UK occurring during the school run, the safety of children should not be compromised as a result of financial cuts."

The first official lollipoppers were introduced as part of the Road Traffic Regulation Act in 1967. Lollipoppers are appointed by the county council, the metropolitan district council, or in London the Metropolitan Police. It is the law that drivers have to stop for a lollipop person when they indicate traffic to stop, and since 2001 they have had the power to help both children and adults to cross the road.

For more information and any media enquiries please contact the Churchill team at Frank PR; / 020 7693 6999

Notes to editors:

  • 1 All child pedestrian casualty figures based on exclusive research between 2010 - 2014 on behalf of Churchill by Road Safety Analysis (2016).
    Findings based on a research sample of 2,000 (1,000 parents & 1,000 children aged 5-11, UK).


Founded in 1989, Churchill is now one of the UK’s leading providers of general insurance, offering car, home, travel and pet insurance cover over the phone or on-line.

Churchill general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Churchill and U K Insurance Limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Churchill products or get a quote by calling 0300 200300 or visiting

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.

Brake achieves this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on Twitter, Facebook, or The Brake Blog.

Key Research:

Road Safety Analysis (2016):

UK Region Child Roadside Casualty Figures (2010 - 2014)
Total Weekdays
United Kingdom 35,612 5,417 14,067
Greater London 5,455 862 2,025
North West 5,234 748 2,046
South East 4,184 747 1,673
Yorkshire & Humber 3,974 502 1,588
West Midlands 3,517 553 1,498
Scotland 2,768 321 984
East of England 2,525 440 1,039
East Midlands 2,470 431 1,024
South West 2,199 398 888
Wales 1,645 196 665
North East 1,641 219 637