Parents who drive their children to school could save on average £642 a year[i]. Collectively parents across Britain could save a staggering £2 billion if they ditched the car and instead cycled or walked to school[ii].
These figures are revealed during Sustrans' annual Bike to School Week which launched on Monday 9 June. The Week aims to promote the benefits of cycling, along with walking and scooting to school in order to reduce some of the 11+ million[iii] car journeys made daily between home and school across primary and secondary schools.
On average primary school children live 1.8 miles[iv] from school which is a 25 minute walk, or 15 minute bike ride or scoot. Yet nearly half (44%) of primary school children are driven to school, with only 2% cycling[v].
Physical activity amongst young people is at an all-time low with statistics showing that 28% of children under 16 are now overweight or obese[vi]. Adopting healthier ways to travel to school, such as cycling, walking and scooting can help break the cycle of inactivity.
Claire Francis, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Sustrans, said: “There are massive financial and health benefits to both children and parents in choosing to cycle, scoot or walk to school, instead of drive. With lots of people feeling the pinch, leaving the car at home can be a cheaper and more enjoyable way to the school gates.
“We know that safety is a concern for some parents so to encourage more people to leave the car at home we want the government to do more to encourage parents to cycle and walk to school by introducing reduced speeds and better infrastructure.”
Sustrans is running its Campaign for Safer Streets and is urging parents to write to their local MP to demand every child be given the right to a safe journey to school.
Contact Sustrans’ Press Office 0207 780 7231 or e-mail [email protected]
Notes to editors
- We want to see a safer school run. We believe that every child has the right to walk, cycle or scoot to school. To bring about this change, we need government to make dedicated funding available, commit to lower traffic speeds, and transform local walking and cycling routes. Together, we can make our streets safer. Join the campaign at www.sustrans.org.uk/safetoschool
- Sustrans is the charity that’s enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. It’s time we all began making smarter travel choices. Make your move and support Sustrans today. www.sustrans.org.uk
[i] Estimate based on figures from the AA (2014), DfE School Statistics (2012), DfT National Travel Survey (2013), DEFRA & DECC GHG conversion factors (2012) and the Bike Station (2011)
[ii] Estimate based on figures from the AA (2014), DfE School Statistics (2012), DfT National Travel Survey (2013) DEFRA & DECC GHG conversion factors (2012), the Bike Station (2011) and Education Statistics for England, Wales and Scotland (2013/2014)
[iii] Estimate based on figures from the AA (2014), DfE School Statistics (2012), DfT National Travel Survey (2013) DEFRA & DECC GHG conversion factors (2012), the Bike Station (2011) and Education Statistics for England, Wales and Scotland (2013/2014)
[iv] DfT 2013 National Travel Survey 2012; DfT 2014 Reported road casualties Great Britain 2012; DFE 2012 Schools, pupils and their characteristics; DfT 2013 English Road Safety Comparison
[vi] Health Survey for England – 2012, Trend Tables: Children Trend Tables (Table 4)