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Britain’s kids tell PM to make their journeys to school safer

Sustrans initiative comes hot on the heels of the case of the Schonrock kids

More than 2,500 children have written letters to the Prime Minister, to ask the Government to make it easier for them to walk and cycle to school safely.

The children – aged between seven and 11 – put forward ideas that included increasing the number of cycle paths, improving crossings and introducing car free zones around schools.

A recent national survey showed that half of the kids in the UK want to cycle to school but only two per cent do. A third of children are now driven to school, many for journeys of less than one mile.

Paul Osborne, Sustrans Director of School Travel, said, “There are many factors currently limiting children from cycling to school. Limitations from schools – much like the Schonrock children are experiencing in London – are quite common, as are stories of parents restricting their children due to safety fears.”

Television psychologist Emma Kenny believes these fears are unfounded and that children should be encouraged to be independent. She said, “Allowing children independence, like cycling to school, will increase their resilience. Increased resilience results in children being happier, more active and alert.”

The letters were sent as a result of a competition that Sustrans ran in schools. Children were asked to write a letter to the Prime Minister to suggest ways that the government could improve their journey to school. The winning entry was written by Joshua Newby, aged 11 from Nottinghamshire. Sustrans has contacted the government and is currently waiting for an opportunity for the children to go along and present the letters and their ideas.

Emma Kenny added, ”When your children go to school, you need to think of them as an individual person and not an extension of yourself – listen to them and see exactly how they want to travel to school and try to support that.”

Lifelong lover of most things cycling-related, from Moulton Mini adventures in the 70s to London bike messengering in the 80s, commuting in the 90s, mountain biking in the noughties and road cycling throughout. Editor of Simpson Magazine (www.simpsonmagazine.cc). 

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