A poll for Walk to School Week, which is taking place between 18th and 22nd May has found a number of core concerns in children and their families which impedes their comfort in walking to school. Speeding cars, aggression from other adults and the threat of stranger danger are amongst the fears creating barriers for children and parents walking to work, the poll found.
National Charity Living Streets is committed to making our streets safe and enjoyable places to be and with this in mind they are calling for the government to target their commitment to getting children to walk to school. The government committed to getting 55% of primary school children walking to their school by 2025 and this commitment was put in place to ensure the government find ways to combat the issues parents are facing every day. 76% of all parents surveyed said they believed the government should be prioritising the walk to school and getting more children and parents doing so.
Statistics show that children in the UK are amongst the least active in the world and walking to school could make a huge difference to their activity levels and therefore their health. Putting the walk to school on the political agenda is a core priority of Living Streets and the research from this poll supports their commitment.
Aggression, Speeding and Stranger Danger Fears
The survey was carried out by YouGov and polled information from over 1000 parents of children aged 5 to 11. It found that 42% of all surveyed had witnessed worrying physical or verbal aggression between other adults at the school gates whilst 68% were worried about speeding vehicles if their children were to walk to school on their own and another 62% were worried about stranger danger.
Living Streets believe a number of things could be done to alleviate these worries including parking enforcements, 20mph speed limits and the introduction of walking zones. Over 80% of parents surveyed supporting the idea of park and stride to help them and their children feel safer and 86% also believe that 20mph speed restrictions must be a priority for the government, as well as increasing children’s confidence whilst on the streets.
Walk to School Week is designed to put this important concern at the heart of the political agenda and to show the government how important it is to give time and consideration to the changes needed for parents to feel safe allowing their children to walk or even to walk with their children. The risks are lower than many believe but whilst there are fears about road safety, it is understandable why parents can’t commit to the daily walk.