Birmingham Schools' Traffic Carnage

A recent article in the Birmingham Post reports that councillors have "called on city schools to take action to end the school run traffic carnage which on occasions result in punch ups". As I've discussed in an earlier post, Britain excels at buck passing, but unfortunately it achieves nothing. Schools cannot dictate what happens outside the school gate. Schools have no authority over traffic or responsibility for highways design. Government has so majored on car-centric urban design that parents feel the only safe way to get their children to school is ensconced in a metal box, preferably a large one with four-wheel drive. Some of these children live only a few hundred metres from the school gate. They might survive the "carnage" by being driven to school, but they are also more likely to suffer from life-threatening health conditions from early middle age onwards.

To quote from the Birmingham Post article:

Coun Maureen Cornish (cons, Sutton Four Oaks) said: “we have this problem with harassment of residents, inconsiderate parking, I don’t know what we’re going to do long term.”

Well we could learn from what happens just across the North Sea. Take a look at the video and pictures below and see if you can spot the common aspect.

Children arriving by bike means there is no need to park a car, and no need to park a car means parents don't end up fighting over the limited space available.

Of course people don't cycle if the conditions favour driving to the extent that cycling is pushed to the margins and rendered unpleasant and dangerous. Passing the buck wont solve that problem. Building infrastructure for cycling (and indeed walking) will. Councillors need to learn to think outside the metal box.

The Dutch Field Trip from Robert on Vimeo.


The School Run in Germany

The school run in Germany
Wondering what the commotion was outside, I stuck my head out of the Velux window and got to see how children get to school in Germany.


The School Run in the Netherlands

The school run in the Netherlands
Because of the extensive, high quality cycling infrastructure children can cycle to school safely in the Netherlands. Some ride on their own, some with parents, and some take a backie.


The Dutch Field Trip

The Dutch field trip
No coach is required for local field trips in the Netherlands, because every child has their own transport. This works because the extensive high quality cycling infrastructure means these children will not be cycling on roads with fast and heavy motor traffic.


School Cycle Parking

School cycle parking
This is part of the cycle parking for a recently built school. Other than the UK, many children in northern Europe cycle to school. They do so because the infrastructure enables safe, practical cycling.