It’s Time to Make the Walk to School Safer and Easier

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
help.

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

94 comments

Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm1 years ago

Christine is right. WE have allowed feat to control us farrrrr too much. We have allowed TV news and media to scare us silly about all kinds of meolodrmatic garbage. Are there bad people in the world? OF COURSE there are, but the answer is to teach your kids how to handle situations…..not cower behind mom and dad. EMPOWER your children.
Teahch them to run to the nearest house door if someone approaches them. Teach them to walk in packs. Kids are farrrrrrrrrr too isolated from the society they live in these days. EVERYTHING in their life is controlled by an adult…….even their sports. Everything is orgnaized….no sand lot games etc etc. They dont learn to deal with each other or how to reslove conflict. They are all hiiding behind iPhones etc.

Teah your kids how to BE in thw rold and how to defend themselves against it. We are GIVING our streets away to the bad guys. Parents, in your small part of the neighborhood, there are dozens of familes……talk to each other and let your kids walk together to school. Physically it woul be MUCH better for them but also mentally. Kids need to be more empowered with the rest of the world…….they can do that when you are so busy hiding that world from them. TALK to your kids about the world…..the good AND the bad and teach them how to cope with the bad.

Alina Kanaski
Alina Kanaski1 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Winn Adams
Winnie Adams1 years ago

Signed 5/10/14

Aaron Bouchard
Aaron Bouchard1 years ago

signed

Shirley Townsend
Shirley T.1 years ago

It is bad enough that walking to school is a safety issue but there is no reason the school gate and school grounds cannot be safe. When taking my grandchildren to school they wanted to wait in the car until the bell rang so the kids on the school grounds would not try something hurtful. There were monitors there but all I ever saw them do was stand far away from the kids together and talk. They did not pay attention to the kids. This was in South Carolina in the US.

Aaron Bouchard
Aaron Bouchard1 years ago

signed

Anita B.
Anita B.1 years ago

Berny P.. You don´t have a clue what you are talking about. So much can i see just by read those few stupid words you´ve written.

If you have had a child you never would have had that opinion.

Janet B.
Janet B.1 years ago

Thanks

Sandra S.
Sandra S.1 years ago

Berny p.: Don't you mean "MOTHERS prefer to work that take their time with their kids......."? Very few fathers have ever walked their children to school, after all!

Let's be clear, Berny. The economy today, with its vanishing middle class and the necessity for two incomes to sustain a family home, is the major factor determining when, and if, a couple can have children, and whether either parent can modify their work schedule to take care of them. Whether or what family leave, and child care, their government or union contract has, also makes a big difference to what kind of time and quality of time they get to spend with their chil(dren).

Christine Boddington

Are our streets really as dangerous as we let ourselves believe or have we allowed a terrorism type fear into over protecting. I walked to primary school, travelling a route of door knocks as we grew in number after each house stop along the way. We concentrated on the traffic and looked after each other, not distracted by mobile phones or listen to music that blocked out our surroundings. It was a team effort and fun type to share with friends.