14 April 2013

Parent solidarity needed?

On Friday, I wrote two posts about cars/driving/traffic near my daughter's primary school.  Well worn territory for me, unfortunately (see 'school run' labels). That same day, the Guardian ran a piece about getting kids to school on bikes.

Nursery run!
All this fed into a couple of discussions on CityCyclingEdinburgh - one about a school which had 'banned' kids from riding to school  and another one where a lot of money has gone into building a turning circle in front of the school, apparently to facilitate car-based drop-offs.  But we also know of schools in the vicinity with really enthusiastic programmes supporting cycling and walking to school.    And in other places, the police and traffic wardens are supporting various initiatives - like adding double yellows to zigzags and banning cars from 300m from school entrances. 

This unevenness leads to the ridiculousness of kids being told in writing that they have to push their bikes to school, while just down the road, the Head Teacher at my school - despite being personally supportive - says that she can't do anything 'beyond her gate' i.e. all the parents who stop on the zig-zags and 'keep clears' and double-park in the road to drop off their kids.

But it's not just that these policies are random and  incoherent, and that enforcement varies greatly, but also that groups of parents feel isolated and  uncertain of what their rights are, or what other schools are doing to change things.

There seems to be some momentum for a city-wide meeting of parents to discuss how different schools deal with such issues and what lessons can be garnered.  I'd also like to have some representation from Council, either from the road safety or active travel teams, as they have a lot of knowledge and experience.

There's a couple of different issues bundled in here - encouraging more kids/parents to use active travel to get to school where appropriate but also making the streets around schools safer in general.  We all know how quieter and safer the streets feel when the schools are on holiday, but it shouldn't be like that. I'd like to see them safer when the kids are on them, not when they're at home or in the park playing!

If you'd be interested in getting involved, or just attending a meeting to share ideas, please get in touch via comments, twitter, or email.


Unknown said...

Very interested in getting involved. Your blog sounds like it couldve been written by me. I am sure we all have the same duplicated problems throughout the country.

Sara Dorman said...

"Your blog sounds like it couldve been written by me" That made me laugh. can't decide if it's fab (ie i am not alone!!!) or bad (is this true everywhere...).

Talking to some folk this week and will be in touch about plans - especially how to reach as many schools as possible.

Unknown said...

I used to cycle everyday with my son to school. Now he cycles independently, its just too dangerous. His school is down a tiny cul de sac. There were so many incidents the head banned cycling! I have resorted to becoming a school governor to try and push the active travel agenda, but I now see how much the schools hands are tied.

Sara Dorman said...

Ah, just made the connection between the commenter, the twitter account and your fab blog.

Sorry to hear you're not in Edinburgh, but nice to put the pieces together :)

Unknown said...

Yes, its all very confusing. Real names, twitter handles, blogger profiles. Multiple personalities.....

Even though we are in different places we share a common problem. It would be interesting to get a bit of a group 'together' to discuss solutions.

Sara Dorman said...

Come to #pop2 ! We'll even have toddlebikes :)