In line with their annual Giant Walk, Brake, the road safety charity released new survey results which found that many people find the journey to school on foot or bicycle scary and dangerous. The survey also found that 72% of people think more children would walk to school if there were safe routes to do so.
Brake’s 2016 Giant Walk took place on 15th June and saw schoolchildren up and down the UK involved in walking events to support road safety and to educate the children on the benefits of walking. The event is supported by Ageas and it also gives the children a chance to see how to safely walk in busy areas and how to look out for cars.
The UK unfortunately does not have a good record when it comes to protecting vulnerable road users and around 50% of all children are driven to school, which further increases the danger to vulnerable road users as well as an increase in health issues and pollution.
This new survey by Brake found that 38% of those spoken too had felt scared by traffic whilst walking or cycling in their local neighbourhood. It also found that 65% believe there should be more done to create routes to schools that are safe for children cycling and walking and 67% agreed there should be more paths and crossing in their local neighbourhood to make it safer and easier to get around on foot. The walk to school needs to be something both parents and children are comfortable with and feel safe doing.
Many schools have 20mph driving zones around their perimeter but this isn’t even enough to stop some drivers. Results from a previous Brake survey found that 44% drivers admit to braking 20mph speed limits by at least 5mph in the last year and 20% admitted they do it on a weekly basis. These 20mph zones are setup to make it safer and easier for children to get to and from school and to protect residential areas and so flouting the speed limits in these places could quite easily result in a devastating collision.
The walk to school should be something children and parents can do without worrying. The risk of accidents shouldn’t be something that makes parents choose to drive as this further compounds the risk for vulnerable road users. The government could and should actively look into ways of improving the roads around and routes to and from schools to make it easier for families to travel by foot.