South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership
10 May 2022
I’ll be honest, I dread the school run. Even before we leave the house, we’ve already had roughly around 36 battles over brushing (hair and teeth), getting dressed, which socks my darling daughter thinks are appropriate for any given day (they are all black BTW), face washing and of course, the daily ‘Please don’t play football on the wet grass before getting in the car’ argument. By the time we are ready to pull off the drive, I’m frazzled. Even Smooth Radio can’t restore balance as I shove a chocolate croissant down my neck (diet’s going well then!?!)

For us to arrive on time, I’m sorry to admit that we do drive to school. If we have chance to walk home, we will, but the array of after-school clubs means that we are often on the move, if not at work. So, I do sympathise with all parents / carers dashing around trying to stay afloat.

Where I don’t sympathise, is when I see irresponsible parking or dangerous driving outside school. We are lucky at my children’s school that there are three pretty large car parks all within a five-minute walk from the school gates. It could not be easier to park safely. There is absolutely no need to block driveways, park on pavements, drop off on the yellow and white markings or park at junctions.

Every time someone does this, they put a child’s life at risk. They obscure their view. They force families to take a chance when they step out onto the road.

And then there are the ones who don’t use the crossing. Why would you not choose the safest option available when getting your child/children to school?

Next week is Walk to School Week (16-20 May) which is organised by national charity Living Streets. Pupils will be encouraged to travel sustainably to school every day, earning stickers as they go along, with a special reward up for grabs at the end of the week.

The #PowerUp challenge will take pupils through five, video game-inspired levels. In the process they’ll learn about the social, road safety, health, environmental benefits of walking, encouraging sustainable travel habits for life.

While walking the whole way to school may not be an option for everyone, with planning and thought, we could all park a little further away and walk the last leg of the journey, improving fitness levels and reducing congestion around the school gates.

But without the co-operation of everyone, from the commuters driving past the school, to the parents and carers dropping off their children, people will be discouraged from making healthier and greener choices.

All we ask is that people keep the gates and the yellow zigzag areas clear, park in a safe and responsible manner and use the crossing warden when available. We also ask that drivers follow the 20mph and 30mph speed limits surrounding schools.

In return, we pledge to ensure our children stay close to our side, hold our hands when they cross the road and follow the Green Cross Code.

At the end of the day, it’s all about keeping children safe, no matter how you travel to and from school.

So, with just days to go, we wish good luck to everyone talking part in the Walk to School challenge. A brilliant idea and a brilliant way to get young people involved in road safety.

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