Walk to School Week is more important then ever

walking to school

The Walk to School Week event is close to our hearts. The first Walk to School week in 1995 involved five primary schools taking part in our very own Green Transport Week. Since then the initiative has grown and is more important than ever; a generation ago, 70% of us walked to school – now it’s less than half.

Now in the capable hands of Living Streets, Walk to School Week is more than a temporary interruption of the motorised school run. It’s about the vital need to foster a new generation of walkers:

At Living Streets, we’ve created the greatest national Walk to School celebration, where pupils and grown-ups around the UK unite for one week of walking to school. Our five-day walking challenge aimed at primary schools is a fun and engaging week-long activity, raising awareness and celebrating walking for all. This year we invite you to join us in celebrating the incredible physical and mental health benefits walking brings to every individual.

What our attitudes to the school run say about us

The areas immediately surrounding schools are an interesting barometer of a country’s attitude toward its young. In Britain today, more than 950 schools are near roads with harmful levels of illegal pollution, which has a disproportionately detrimental effect on young lungs. Countless more are situated on roads that force pupils to run a gauntlet of speeding drivers and pavement parking. These threats to our children’s health are prompting an increasing number London borough to introduce ‘School Streets’ – roads outside schools are closed to motorised traffic at school start and finish times.

The closure of the streets not only tackles congestion and improves air quality at the school gates, making it easier and safer to walk and cycle to school, but creates a more pleasant environment for everyone, while making sure residents, businesses, pedestrians and cyclists can still use the road. School Streets remain open for walking and cycling at all times so make a valuable contribution to Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.

Back-to-front road danger reduction

Here in Britain we are victims of a back-to-front approach to road danger reduction that sees many changes made only following a death. Money invested in safer roads brings a sound return on investment. Quite apart from the increased quality of life that results from quieter and cleaner neighbourhoods, road traffic collision fatalities are expensive. It costs society an estimated £1.69 million every time a person is killed on the road. If you are in any doubt about the human cost of such events, take time to watch our short film about road danger.

Councils who would like a School Street but cannot afford the financial outlay can use a traffic management order to allow the road to closed by teachers or volunteer parents.  It’s an approach that requires on-the-ground logistics that the cameras avoid, but for schools with a problem with dangerous traffic and who can call on parents for help, it can be a viable alternative.

Ethical insurance from the ETA

Every cycle insurance, home insurance, breakdown cover or mobility scooter insurance policy you buy from us helps support the work of the ETA Trust, our charity campaigning for a cleaner, safer transport future.

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