Road Safety News

Survey highlights barriers to walking to school

Tuesday 19th May 2015

Speeding cars and aggression from other adults are two of the main reasons preventing parents and children from walking to school, according to a poll carried out for Walk to School Week 2015 (18-22 May).

The findings come from a YouGov poll of 1,000 parents of children aged 5-11 years, carried out on behalf of the national charity Living Streets, which organises Walk to School Week.

When it comes to their children walking to school alone, 68% of parents surveyed said vehicles driving too quickly worry them, and 62% cited ‘stranger danger’ as a concern. 42% said they have witnessed physical or verbal aggression between adults outside the school gates.

82% felt schemes such as park and stride, which are designed to make the walk to school safer and easier for children, should be a priority for the government, while 86% said 20mph speed restrictions and parking enforcements around schools should also be a priority.

Living Streets says key ways to improve the situation include implementing parking enforcement and 20mph speed limits around schools, and introducing walking zones.

Joe Irvin, Living Streets’ chief executive, said: “We need to urge the new government to ensure that its commitment to getting 55% of children walking to school over the next 10 years remains firmly on the political agenda.

“The benefits of the walk to school are enormous; it helps keep children healthy and active, improves their concentration and is great for wellbeing.

“The walk to school is in long-term decline and it would impact greatly on future generations if something so vital to the health of our children became a thing of the past.”



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This is not a personal issue. You introduced the idea that Pilate referred the matter to a higher authority, in a similar manner to yourself deferring "legislative" matters to a higher authority.

Whilst not having the benefit of speaking to your late father, I have read the Wikipedia entry and all the references to Pilate in the King James Bible. I see no such deference to a "higher authority".

Am quite happy to let the Pilate debate end here, but maybe you can answer the other questions posed in my last comment.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (6) | Disagree (4)

Firstly, may I suggest you read the King James Version of the bible rather than wiki!
Secondly my late father and I discussed Pilot often and I would accept his understanding especially as he was a Dean at Southwark Cathedral. Thirdly this is not the place to exchange personal issues. You have my email. Contact me direct for further explanations.
peter westminster

Agree (8) | Disagree (2)

I think you may be wrong on your allegation that Pontious Pilate deferred the problem to a higher authority. According to Wikepedia then he made the decision himself although.See

I note that you reference a "self-enforcing 12mph speed limit outside schools". Perhaps you can explain what you mean by this.

You also say "However, our adult pedestrian injuries come from incidents involving cyclists.."

I note that you had 6 pedestrian deaths and 82 pedestrians seriously injured in 2013 in Westminster. Are you seriously saying that the main cause was cyclists?
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (3) | Disagree (6)

"Apologies for a "double comment"," but if one is to refer to religious references one must consider what is being relayed and the interpretations considered.

Pontious Pilot was deferring a problem to a higher authority. I as a mere road safety officer with responsibility for education, training and publicity must defer any legislative decisions to policy makers. I may have some influence on their decision making and my educative measures will continue for all road users on all roads. Bless you.
Peter Westminster

Agree (7) | Disagree (3)

Rod, you miss the point.

Parental concern in the 30s is the same as today and even then there were suggestions for pedestrianised areas around schools and means to keep traffic speeds down. Nothing has changed.

Last year's final casualty figures for child pedestrians in Westminster reflect the 3 year trend with nil fatals, 3 serious and 42 slights. We have 90 plus schools in the authority with over 80% walking to school rate which suggests that the continuous education is working alongside the school run which is a self enforcing speed limit of below 12 MPH outside schools. This may be because parents who use a vehicle to take their child to school will on return to their home have nowhere to park.

The physics is also right, slower speeds reduce the energy involved in an incident and give all road users the time to react to avoid any incident, but not one of our child casualties occurred near a school or on the journey to or from. However, our adult pedestrian injuries come from incidents involving cyclists where more often the pedestrian is in the wrong but the seriousness is high as cyclists ride at speeds in excess of 20 MPH which can be charges with riding furiously (1847 Town Police Clause Act.)

Happy to have 20 personally if cyclists can be included.
Peter Westminster

Agree (6) | Disagree (2)

Apologies for a "double comment", but another useful comparative report may be found at:

On child pedestrian related deaths per 100,000 then UK children come off worse than France, Sweden, Netherlands, Norway, Italy, Austria, Finland, Germany, Spain, Belgium and Denmark.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (3) | Disagree (3)

Those wishing to base their thinking on something more recent than 1936 could perhaps look at this 2005 report from the DfT.

Child Pedestrian Exposure and Accidents – Further Analyses of Data from a European Comparative Study

Its available at

I am sure that most of you who have a professional responsibility for child road danger will already be aware of it.

But conclusion I noted was that:

"that amongst the various factors associated with higher severity rates, those connected with vehicle speed are the most influential – in particular, there is a strong association with speed limits at the accident sites; the higher the speed limit, the higher the severity."

Whilst teaching and education are certainly important, we do need to temper this with acceptance that primary children cannot be relied upon to judge the speed of cars or take full responsibility for their actions. As a society we need to understand and us adults take responsibility for the way we dominate our urban and village scape with our aspiration for motorised mobility. And most people would far prefer to have a "nanny state" that protected its young whilst maximising their independent mobility than a "Pontius Pilate" state that simply washed its hands of this important issue.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (9) | Disagree (5)

Nothing new here.
This was a joint report of the Board of Education and the Ministry of Transport addressing the high accident rate among school children which, at that time, was much worse than it is today. After an analysis of the problem it looked at what had been done up to that time and then considered what should be done. As can be imagined, not very much was done, although the initiatives are described in such a way that they sound quite impressive. Thus the BBC had wireless talks; the Ministry was working to provide better footpaths and facilities for pedestrians; and the Board had issued Administrative Memoranda.

The main impetus for road safety in schools came from the National "Safety First" Association which had been supplying materials to schools for some time, and in 1934 had received funding to produce a package for schools for a trial period.

In the schools some were far ahead of others with model traffic signals, wall friezes, roads marked out in playgrounds where children could practice, and safety displays for parents at open days. It was these examples of good practice (along with good practice by LEA's, the police, etc.) which the Committee took up in their recommendations.

These are too numerous to detail but they contain many good ideas and principles, some of which still have currency. Thus, one reads of safe routes to school, the value of practice in road crossing skills, and the need to give positive rather than negative guidance. One interesting point they make is a division between "protective" and “educative" measures. The first consist of measures like school signs, barrier rails and lower speed limits which are aimed at providing a safe environment for the child in going to and from school. The "educative" measures, which are much as we know them, are different in that they are aimed at enabling the child to cope in a safe manner with all roads.

Is 20s plenty a protective measure which may be seen as the nanny state action whereas teaching kerbcraft and pedestrian training addresses the child's wellbeing in terms of freedom of movement.

May I suggest one also looks at Lost Freedom: The Landscape of the child and the British Post-War settlement by Mathew Thomsom which cast new light on children and parenting.
Peter Westminster

Agree (10) | Disagree (4)

Yes Rod I do agree, I both walked and cycled the 3 miles to school and back in the 90s. The road casualty rates were much higher back then. I think the media and pressure groups' figures are increasing the perceived (not real) dangers, plus the fact that many children go to schools quite a distance from home (due to league tables etc), have all contributed to this issue.
Steve Armstrong, Halifax UK.

Agree (12) | Disagree (0)

Can we take it from the comments of both Steve's that they are therefore in support of initiatives that will enable parents and children to feel more able to choose alternatives to being driven to school?
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (8) | Disagree (2)

Agreed Steve,
The amount of traffic taken off our roads during school holidays is amazing! On a normal day my commute of 25 miles takes 1 hour 15 mins during school holidays it only takes 45 mins.
Steve Armstrong, Halifax UK.

Agree (12) | Disagree (0)

Been here before, I suspect the biggest traffic problem at school time, is the school run. Ban that, watch the roads instantly become much safer at those times of day.
Steve, Watford

Agree (13) | Disagree (1)