Many parents are still unhappy to let their children make their own way to school, citing concerns over safety on the roads as the main issue.
In an attempt to encourage more parents and children to ditch the car for the trip to school, however, road safety charity Brake has today organised for 100,000 children from 45 institutions to walk to school as part of Brake’s ‘Giant Walk’, racking up a total of 60,000 miles collectively and getting extra exercise and reducing emissions in the process.
A survey of parents carried out by Brake discovered that only a quarter of respondents thought that the route from their house to school was safe enough for their children to walk or ride to school by themselves. Central to this, were safety concerns with 42 per cent of parents saying that fast traffic or busy roads prevented them from letting their kids make their own way to school.
Recent reports have provided a stark warning about the potential consequences of the UK slipping further into a spiral of physical inactivity.
Four in ten people also said that a lack of safe crossing points concerned them, while 35 per cent stated that a lack of safe pavements, footpaths and cycle paths made them hesitant to allow their children to head off to school by themselves. A similar number of respondents also stated that increasing the number of safe routes and crossing points would make them more likely to let their children walk or cycle to school.
Surprisingly, just 25 per cent said that the decision to ferry their kids to school in the car was down to distance or time constraints, while only eight per cent claimed convenience was the reason for driving.
Figures from Brake show that 46 per cent of primary school children in the UK are driven to school, contributing significantly to congestion, increased emissions and health issues, with three in 10 two to 15-year olds in England being classified as overweight or obese.
In response to these statistics Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “Recent reports have provided a stark warning about the potential consequences of the UK slipping further into a spiral of physical inactivity. The impacts will be felt hardest by our children, who could face a lifetime of poor health and have to pick up the bill for rising healthcare costs.”