Jan Garrard, who coined one of my favourit phrases
“we put kids into cars to protect them from cars”
has just published an extensive review of literature related to active travel to school and suggests that
” increasing levels of car use are the predictable outcome of transportation policies that promote car use and constrain walking and cycling, and not the inevitable by-product of low-density suburban living in affluent countries. Changes can be achieved through programs such as Safe Routes to School, Walking School Bus, School”.
The full paper is available here (it is a 10 MB document) :
Or from the BTA website Active travel to school Literature Review Jan Garrard 2011
The Cycling Promotion Fund (CPF) together with the Heart Foundation has interviewed just over 1000 parents to explore their attitudes to kids riding to school. Not surprisingly safety concerns to the list of reasons why parents do not let their kids ride bicycles to school – personal safety, amount of traffic along the route, safety of intersetions and crossings and speed of traffic along the route were the four major reasons for not letting kids ride to school. The report can be found here.
Alan Davies on Crikey has written on the same topic, mainly using data from the CPF interviews. He supports Jan Garrards views, pointing out that 63% of school children are driven to school, vs 11% who use a bicycle. The view that children under nine could ride unsupervised to school is held by only 13.2% of parents, compared to 6% of parents in Holland that let their six year olds ride to school unsupervised. Kids in Australia have to be 12 years old until a majority of parents (two thirds) feel they can ride to school unsupervised.