#safetoschool :: an update

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Last week, I wrote about the Sustrans #safetoschool campaign, and my commitment to support it, beginning by taking part in #biketoschoolweek. Sustrans is campaigning for a safer school run for every child, so that they can get out onto the streets and travel to school actively and independently. Our challenge was to bike, scoot or walk to school for the duration of the week.

Up until this week, we have always walked the school run, with the littlest coming along in the buggy. Cycling was, for us, a bit too much of a challenge- the six year old can ride a bike, but has never done so on the streets, the four year old has a balance bike, but rarely rides it on the pavements, and I don’t have a baby seat for my own bike. However, both of the eldest boys have scooters, and have been desperate to use them on the school run, so this was the perfect time to give it a try. We decided to build things up gradually: on the first day, we scooted the preschool run, on the second day we scooted one school run, on the third day, we scooted both school runs. On the fourth day, we scooted both school runs and gave the helmet camera a spin. Today, the final day, was an absolute scorcher. We walked to school, and although I brought the scooters to pick-up in the buggy, the boys chose to walk home, too.

The best thing about the week was that we have managed to stay away from the car altogether, even walking to swimming lessons and back, in the evening. It’s been a glorious week, and the school runs have ensured that we’ve been outside making the most of it. I was pleasantly surprised by how smoothly it went when the boys scooted. They were absolutely brilliant about stopping by roads and at corners, and they slowed down on the high street when the pavement is narrow and the cars very close. Of the five roads that we have to cross, one has a zebra crossing, and one (outside the school) has a crossing patrol. I still find, however, that even with the zebra crossing, cars go too fast, or neglect to stop, so each of these points on the journey is a stressful one. I was chanting ‘STOP! Look left, look right, look left again, keep looking and listening, over you go…’ over and over throughout every journey. I do the same when we are walking,  but scooters do add an element of extra speed.

The boys loved using the helmet camera, and I shall be editing together a little video to share with you sometime next week. Looking to the future, we shall definitely be scooting to school again,  but although the journey felt manageable, it certainly didn’t feel safe. Sustrans’ work in this area is so important, so if you haven’t already, please do pop over to their website and fill in the speedy form that sends an email to your MP. They are working to make the streets safer for our kids, let’s give them our support.

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  • Goodness, it’s such a worry, this getting to school safely. I always walk too, though my husband feels we should cycle to teach our eldest (6) road confidence. And leaving the car parked does make you feel good. It’s something we’re working on here too.
    Have a lovely weekend xxx

  • I’ve used some of the excellent Sustrans cycle routes near us and their map online which tells them where they are – I just wish everyone else did! I often see people cycling on fast roads when there is a cycle path a few feet away (sometimes visible, sometimes not)