The school run – two words that evoke groans from parents and resignation from children. For many it’s a necessary hassle for our children to get to school safely, but it need not be this way.
For children, cycling brings a greater range of freedom that walking can’t provide and is cheaper and more flexible than public transport. Children should have the right to cycle to school, to friends, to the shops, to sports facilities or any other destination; and they should be able to do it safely. It is the means by which different parts of their lives are connected together.
Our current road environment has largely been designed for the private motor car and as a consequence it suffers from excess motor traffic and hostile cycling conditions. This mixing of cycling with motor vehicles prevents parents from even considering cycling as an alternative for their children. The inevitable consequence is seen from an absence of children on our streets participating in an activity they enjoy.
If we build a safe network for our children to cycle to school in, we can look forward to seeing swarms of children cycling, just like in the Netherlands:
Children having their own transport freedom liberates parents from being a “taxi service”, allows for childhood development from personal exploration and independence, all of which improve the quality of the lives of parents and children.
Header photo from Schrödinger’s Cat