School Traffic – What is the real danger?
Everyday we suffer from peak time traffic in the hours running up to the opening of schools and then again in the afternoons. Local towns and villages are stifled with congestion which is often unnecessary and dangerous. Some estimates suggest that more than half of the car journeys made by parents are not needed at all. Children are better off when they walk or cycle to school with their friends, rather than being shepherded in a car with their mums, dads, and older siblings.
It is common sense when you think about it….
The more cars on the road at this busy time, the more danger we face as we travel by foot or on our bikes. More vehicles mean more pollution, especially from stagnant cars with their engines running, letting off steam. The fumes from this are clogging up pedestrians’ lungs. The cars themselves are blocking their vision so that it is harder to cross the roads safely. Another thing that goes without saying, is that people are getting less exercise because they are stuck in a sedentary position behind a wheel instead of increasing their heart rates and enjoying the social experience of walking or cycling to school.
Children are missing out!
Because they are being driven in cars from place to place, they are not getting the fresh air and exercise they need to wake their bodies and brains up properly ready for a working day. Similarly, they are not negotiating crossing the road, dealing with everyday situations that arise when walking and, of course, developing independent problem solving skills. Whilst sat in the back of a car staring at an ipad or built in TV screen, children are losing out on many developmental needs.
In terms of safety, the more people we have walking around, the less scary and intimidating the streets will feel. Stranger danger has not increased in recent years yet the perception of it has been heightened due to media spotlighting. The fact that people are seen more in vehicles than walking around has made the streets seem more hostile. Added to this, there is increased danger related to walking which emanates from the fact that there are simply more vehicles on the local roads, more likely to cause injuries. Most of these cars could have avoided driving near to schools. If children were encouraged to be independent, walk with their friends and see the journey to and from school as an opportunity for exercise and socialising then many of our concerns would be reduced and we would have healthier, happier students, ready and raring to go when they arrive at school.
This is merely my opinion, with basic concepts drawn from my own geographical studies. What are your thoughts on this?