Are you taking part in Walk to School Week this week?

Walk to school week 20 – 24 May 2019

This is the 90th Walk to School Week encouraging parents to walk their children to school.

As well as leaving the car at home, parents are also recommended to consider alternative options such as park and stride schemes where the car is left some distance from the school and can still benefit from an active trip to school.

Traffic levels

Roads near to schools at drop off and pick up times are typically dominated by cars which can often be badly parked and contribute to hazardous levels of congestion and pollution.

This high level of traffic can make the walk to school feel unsafe. Department for Transport statistics show that road traffic in the UK grew by 80 per cent between 1980 and 2005, and the number of children travelling to school in cars has doubled in the past 20 years.

Alternatives

Walking is one of the cheapest ways of getting around and is also kind to the environment. If everyone replaced one car journey a week for walking, car traffic levels would reduce by more than 10%.

There has been evidence from trials in UK towns and cities that street closure schemes – where cars are prevented from going up to the school gates at drop off and pick up times has had a positive impact on road safety as well as air quality.

Some of the benefits of walking to school include:

Cleaner air
Taking children to school accounts for 25% of cars in the morning rush hour and is responsible for producing two million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. By walking to school even just some of the time we can help improve the quality of air that children are growing up in.

Health
If you walk to school with your child, you not only get fitter, but the walk makes them feel good. This exercise helps the children to feel calmer and happier as well as improving their concentration, making it easier to focus in lessons.

Habit
Children walking to school can help to develop good walking habits from a young age, so that they may then choose to walk more when they can in later life.

Safer journeys
Walking to school is an opportunity for your child to learn road safety from you as well as by reducing traffic at these times lessens the likelihood of road accidents.

Social
Children walking to school with friends can be very beneficial as they’re able to chat with their friends along the way, improving communication skills and confidence. Also, when parents walk their child to school, it allows you to spend more social time with them.

Financial
When parents walk all or part of the way to school they can save money by spending less on fuel.

Useful Links:
Road safety for primary school children

Road safety for post-primary school children

Original School vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com