3 October 2014

Walk to School for fun and fitness

Everyone is familiar with congestion caused by the school run and, despite the health benefits of walking or cycling, the percentage of children being driven to school has remained stable at around 30% for state schools.

In fact in Brighton & Hove the number of cars on the road during the school run actually increased by around 500 around all schools, including those that are privately-run.

Part of the reason for this is that there are now more pupils attending schools in the city, so during Walk to School month in October the council’s school travel team will be promoting the benefits of walking, cycling and even scooting to school.

Councillor Ian Davey, lead member for transport at Brighton & Hove City Council, said: “Walking to school helps create a safer, more pleasant environment as well as being a healthy way to start and end the day. It can be very stressful negotiating the traffic on the school run, whether you are walking, cycling or driving, so we are pleased to be supporting schools to create safer streets around schools.

“Throughout the year we are actively engaging with schools to encourage walking and cycling through school travel plans. Walk to School month is the perfect opportunity to try walking if you don’t normally do it and encouraging pupils to walk or cycle at the beginning of term helps to develop the habit for the rest of the school year.”

To tie in with Walk to School month the council and the police are tackling illegal and poor driver behaviour around schools. The initiative aims to highlight the dangers of stopping and parking on pavements and verges, to encourage motorists to drive responsibly and to improve safety for everyone, especially pedestrians.

More than 30 schools have already signed up to the Walk to School challenge – in excess of 7,500 children. The council has also enlisted five private schools to take part. This is particularly relevant as according to last year’s figures, 60% of children are driven to a private school and only 19% walk, compared with an average of 54% of children travelling to all schools.

To find out more about Walk to School month in Brighton and Hove visit http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/parking-and-travel/travel-transport-and-road-safety/walking-school or call the school travel adviser on (01273) 291744.