'Conflicting messages' stop children walking and cycling to school

From BBC - January 8, 2018

"Conflicting messages" on safety are preventing parents from encouraging their children to walk or cycle or school, according to campaigners.

A survey by Sustrans and the Scottish Parent Teacher Council found 42% of parents felt safety was a barrier to travelling actively to school.

Just 3% said their child cycled to school, but almost half already walked.

Eileen Prior, executive director of SPTC, said: "Parents often get conflicting messages."

She added: "They are expected simultaneously to be responsible for keeping their children safe, for ensuring they are fit and active, and very often, for getting to work on time.

"These pressures often lead to a vicious circle of competing imperatives. For instance, we know driving too close to schools to drop off children actually creates danger in many ways."

Case study: The Van Zon family

Karen Van Zon tries to walk or cycle with her three children to and from primary school every day.

The family, from Glenrothes, live less than a mile from school but the journey takes them along a busy trunk road and across a number of junctions and crossings.

"The last section before the school is really quite dangerous," Karen said.

"We have had a couple of near misses from drivers not paying attention when parking and reversing around the school entrance."

Karen wants her children to travel to school unaccompanied but says until the streets around the school are safer she has no choice but to travel with them.

'Journeys are not safe'


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