This week is "Walk to School Week" and with the majority of schools back full time alongside the weather beginning to improve across Scotland now is a great opportunity to consider walking or cycling to school.
If you are planning to leave the car behind for this week's school run here are some things to be aware of.
How dangerous are roads in the Scotland?
We all know that walking or cycling is a healthier activity for our children than being driven to school. However, how safe are they?
Last year, data showed that 7 children were killed and 140 were seriously injured on Scottish roads - that's almost three children seriously hurt or killed every week in Scotland.
What can you do when walking to school to stay safe?
Walking to school is a great way to stay fit and get some fresh air but it is important that you stay aware whilst walking to school.
- Use dedicated crossings where available.
- If the green man is no longer appearing, or flashing, don't run across - wait patiently.
- Don't walk across the road without stopping fully and really looking to see if cars or other vehicles are near.
- When walking to school, don't be texting at the same time - leave your mobile phone in your bag or pocket.
- Stay clear of the kerb and don't step off the pavement to overtake someone.
What can you do to keep safe when cycling to school?
- The right bike - make sure your bike is the right size for you. You shouldn't need to stretch to reach the handle bars or be unable to use the brakes easily.
- Use cycle routes where you can.
- Look and signal clearly to other drivers so they know what you are about to do - make eye contact where you can.
- Remember your Highway Code rules of giving way and stopping. Do not overtake cars unless it is safe to do so.
- Be aware of other vehicles when going around a bend, changing lanes or doing a u-turn.
- At the lights, make sure drivers can see you and you are not in their blind spot.
- Correctly fit lights onto your bike and use them when you need to.
- Wear reflective clothing and accessories to make sure you are SEEN by others.
There is also training available to help you stay safe. Find out more at http://bikeability.org.uk/
How can we make it safer for children to walk or cycle to school?
Research has shown that drivers do break the 20mph speed limit which is often coupled with children not being able to accurately judge the speed of cars and other vehicles travelling over 20mph.
To help encourage children to cycle or walk to school and be safe when doing so, Brake recommends:
- Slower speeds implemented around school routes
- Dedicated cycle routes
- Wide pavements
- Safe places to cross the road
Walking or cycling to school is a great way to travel and the health benefits are much better than simply getting a lift in.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.