Brake backs Walk to School Week – a healthier and happier start to the day for you and the planet

News from Brake

16 May 2016
news@brake.org.uk

Brake, the road safety charity, is encouraging families to get out of their cars and on to their feet as part of Living Streets’ Walk to School Week.

Half of our children are driven to school, yet the average school run for primary age children is just 1.5 miles.[i]

Average walking trips per person have decreased by 27% since 1995, with walking now making up just over a fifth (22%) of trips in Britain.[ii]

In that time congestion and air pollution have increased, as have our waistlines, with childhood obesity being described be experts as an epidemic.

Driving less means there will be less harmful pollution pumped into our atmosphere and children and parents will get more exercise. There are financial benefits too. It’s estimated an average family can save £642 a year by swapping a car-based school run for walking or cycling. [iii]

Regular walking, jogging and cycling can help guard against asthma, depression, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and some cancers.[iv]

Alice Bailey communications and campaigns adviser for Brake, the road safety charity, said: Walking to school, which was once so common place, seems to be the second option for most parents nowadays. We need walking to school to become the norm once again and events such as Walk to School Week and next month’s Brake’s Giant Walk can hopefully showcase the benefits of an active start to the day rather than jumping in the car.

Joe Irvin, Living Streets’ CEO said: “Not only are we experiencing a childhood obesity crisis, we’re also facing a rise in mental health and wellbeing problems. We know that keeping active is a major part of the solution.
“We must prioritise ways of encouraging physical activity if we want today’s children to become healthy adults. The walk to school is a free, easy and accessible way for parents and their children to achieve this. Sadly, just 46 per centof primary school children walk to school compared to 70 per cent of their parents’ generation. We must reverse this decline.”Donabie, Anna, Transport: Social Trends 41, Office for National Statistics (2011)

[i] Donabie, Anna, Transport: Social Trends 41, Office for National Statistics (2011)
[ii] National Travel Survey, Department for Transport, 2013
[iii] Estimate by Sustrans based on figures from the AA, DfE school statistics, DfT National Travel Survey, DEFRA & DECC GHG conversion factors and the Bike Station (June 2014)
[iv] NHS http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/Whybeactive.aspx (2015)

Notes to Editors:

About Brake’s Giant Walk
Brake’s Giant Walk is an annual event in primary schools where children learn about traffic pollution and danger, and transport choices. Schools taking part get their pupils to walk (in a crocodile of supervised kids, holding hands on safe pavements, or around the school’s grounds) which gives children a voice, helping them tell drivers to slow down and look out for people on foot. Children can be sponsored to take part and schools can run fundraising events, helping fund Brake's campaigns and services for families bereaved and injured by road crashes.

About Walk to School Week

Walk to School Week 2016 will take place 16-20 May. For more information visit https://www.livingstreets.org.uk/what-we-do/projects/walk-to-school-week

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

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Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.