Parents who drive their children to school could save on average £642 a year[i]. Collectively parents across Britain could save a staggering £2 billion if they ditched the car and instead cycled or walked to school[ii].
These figures are revealed during Sustrans’ annual Bike to School Week which launched on Monday 9 June. The Week aims to promote the benefits of cycling, along with walking and scooting to school in order to reduce some of the 11+ million[iii] car journeys made daily between home and school across primary and secondary schools.
On average primary school children live 1.8 miles[iv] from school which is a 25 minute walk, or 15 minute bike ride or scoot. Yet nearly half (44%) of primary school children are driven to school, with only 2% cycling[v].
Physical activity amongst young people is at an all-time low with statistics showing that 28% of children under 16 are now overweight or obese[vi]. Adopting healthier ways to travel to school, such as cycling, walking and scooting can help break the cycle of inactivity.
Claire Francis, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Sustrans, said: “There are massive financial and health benefits to both children and parents in choosing to cycle, scoot or walk to school, instead of drive. With lots of people feeling the pinch, leaving the car at home can be a cheaper and more enjoyable way to the school gates.
“We know that safety is a concern for some parents so to encourage more people to leave the car at home we want the government to do more to encourage parents to cycle and walk to school by introducing reduced speeds and better infrastructure.”
Sustrans is running its Campaign for Safer Streets and is urging parents to write to their local MP to demand every child be given the right to a safe journey to school.