I’m pleased to have been asked to be an official blogger for the Sustrans Campaign for Safer Streets (#SafeToSchool). The campaign has a vision for every child to be able to make the journey to school by bike, scooter or foot. I wholeheartedly agree with Sustrans’ call to action that every child should have the right to a safe walk, scoot or bike to school.
Even though the average trip to school is only 1.8 for primary schools and 3.4 miles for secondary, walking and cycling to school is declining. In 1971, eight in 10 seven and eight year olds walked or cycled to school on their own, but now 50% of young children are never allowed to cross roads on their own.
I walk my boys to school every day, and I feel very lucky to have a school that is within easy walking distance. Walking to school is one of the best ways to get my kids outside on a regular basis; it’s good for them, and for me too. Through our daily walk, I feel more connected to the town around me, and to the seasons as they change. Parts of our walk are pedestrianised, and we have a school crossing patrol service on the road beside the school. However, there are other, busier roads to be crossed, narrow pavements, and some stretches without any pavement at all. The boys would love to scoot to school each day, but with two of them, plus the baby in the buggy, I haven’t felt confident enough of their safety to let them.
Sustrans believe that the problem is that our streets are not safe enough for children to get to school the way that they should – actively and independently. For more information about the Campaign for Safer Streets, you can visit the Sustrans website, where there’s a quick and simple form for you to write to your MP, asking for their support, and enabling Sustrans to bring about real change.
Next week (9th-13th June ) is Bike to School Week 2014, with the aim of encouraging more families to cycle to school. Sustrans have challenged the boys and I to cycle or scoot to school for the duration of the week. I’ll be letting you know how we get on. Do you fancy joining us?