Friday, 11 February 2011
STOP - Children Crossing
According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2008, 48 per cent of 5 to 10-year olds walked to school, 5 percentage points lower than those walking to school in 1995–1997.
In Ghana, a tricycle project has been set up for children to be transported to school. They had been understandably struggling with the 9 mile round trip walk to school daily and this scheme has helped some children keep up their school attendance. It certainly puts my 1.8 mile childhood round trip into perspective!
In this country we are blessed with many choices. We have not one school but a choice of possible schools for our children to attend, we have the opportunity to choose our lifestyle, we have access to cars, public transport, bikes and scooters not just the ability to walk to school.
Is it this level of choice which has made some of us selfish?
Today we received a communication from school to all parents. It informed us that their had been an incident outside school in which a child had been hit by a car. Mercifully the child escaped injury. This is horrendous.
I know from friends of mine that the problem of inconsiderate parking and driving is not just restricted to my son's school gates. Many schools up and down the country, in little country villages with little parking opportunities at all, in town centres, and on main roads in leafy suburbs such as ours are plagued with parking/picking up/dropping off disasters.
I refuse to allow my son to let go of my hand on the pavement outside school. This is because there have been at least three near misses where people have mounted the pavement at speed as we walked along, he has also hit his head on a car wing mirror the car which it was attached to was taking up so much of the pavement that my son could not miss it! The parking situation has calmed down a bit in recent months, the issue here really is parents mounting the kerb at speed and dropping off their children and rejoining the traffic in an equally reckless manner. This is before we even consider the impact on wheelchair users or parents with pushchairs.
This behaviour is pure selfishness. The person concerned is not thinking for one minute about the impact on pedestrians, or other road users for that matter. All that concerns them is that their child gets to school on time, and their day goes as planned.
I realise for some parents it is a case of dropping children to school on the way to work. If so, park further away as many do and allow 5 mins extra in the morning, use wrap around childcare as required, walk to school and walk back for the car if close enough. But please don't screech to a halt on the pavement outside the school gate, allow your child to open the front passenger door without checking for pedestrians coming up behind (I have been hit by a car door), and barge back into the traffic again. There is NO excuse.
There you go then rant over! I feel better, I hope the child who was hit by a car feels better too.