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.”