With the sun out and the long summer holiday form school upon us, children are breaking from the cocoon of the school run car and taking to their feet in a bid to make the most of their short-lived freedom.
This has caused concern for parents, who fear for the safety of their offspring on the road. In fact, while 94 per cent of those with children think that they should walk more, only 56 per cent believed that their area was safe enough to do so, according to new research by the AA.
The motorists group surveyed 22,000 people to get their views on road safety in their neighbourhood.
It found that the majority of parents (76 per cent) wanted their children to cycle more, but less than a third felt comfortable with letting their children do so on local roads.
The AA found that concerns over child road safety varied between different areas and socio-economic groups. 59 per cent of those surveyed who lived in better-off neighbourhoods considred the roads safe enough for their children to explore on foot, with that number dropping to just 45 per cent in less affluent areas.
This difference in confidence can be marked, even in local areas. The results showed that Luton was considered the least safe place for children to walk the streets. However, the affluent town of St Albans was placed in the top five safest areas, despite being just 12 miles down the road.
Those in lower income areas were also less keen on their children riding their bikes on local roads, though most were still in favour of it.
Commenting on the findings, AA president Edmund King, said: “Children in inner-city areas are at much greater risk. They make more journeys on foot and spend more time playing in the street because there are fewer playing areas. There are also more cars parked in the street, reducing visibility and making crossing the road more hazardous. They also tend to live on busier roads rather than in the leafy suburbs.
“It is a shame when safety fears constrain freedoms and the social and physical development of young people. Many communities have organised themselves to provide activities and supervision to reduce the chances of a mishap.”