Guest post by Living Streets
Last week Living Streets’ Chief Executive, Tony Armstrong, appeared on BBC Breakfast ahead of Walk to School Week (19 – 23 May) asking for government action to make walking to school safer and easier for our children.
In the flurry of radio phone-ins, interviews and social media activity which followed, the message from parents was clear – the school run is stressful, but inconsiderate behaviour by ‘other’ drivers deters them from walking with or allowing their children to walk to school.
It really just bore out the results of the recent YouGov poll commissioned by Living Streets. Almost a third (32 percent) said the school run was as stressful as a day at work, but given traffic congestion, parking and potential conflict with other drivers and residents around schools, probably no surprise there.
The statistic which shocked us was the 44 percent of parents who said they feared for their children’s safety around the school gates. Not only that, but 14 percent feared for their own safety! Everything our poll, parents and schools tell us paints a picture of chaos, stress and fear in one of the places where we might expect our children to be safe.
At the centre of this are the people most affected: our children. They tell us they enjoy walking to school, and we know it’s one of the best ways to keep them fit and well today and to safeguard their long-term health in the future.
Mum of two, Kate Medhurst, says ditching the car and walking her children to school changed her life, reducing stress levels and giving them an opportunity for some quality family time.
She recently told me: “I have just got back this morning from walking my children to school. At the moment they are enjoying watching all the daffodils come out and my daughter spends a lot of time on the walk looking for worms – they have so much fun!”
Why would we deny our children such a precious opportunity to engage with their local community and learn about their environment? We’re asking children all over the UK to write to David Cameron and tell him why they love their walk to school and asking him to make it safer and easier for them to do so. But to convince him this is important, they need your
Already, almost 6,000 people have signed our petition to the Prime Minister asking him to make sustainable school travel a government priority. We nearing our target, but we’re not there yet. Please sign and share our petition.
Photo Credit: Living Streets