That when we were young, almost everyone walked to school. I can’t remember any school friend being driven to school, even one friend who lived quite far away walked. Today, when doing the Swiss school run, I had the impression that quite a few of my childrens’ classmates were driven to school, and from what I hear from friends in UK, I would imagine that most British parents drive.
According to the UK Department of Transport, road traffic accidents involving taking children to school have doubled in the past twenty years. Today on Twitter, I undertook a very unscientific study, and found that although some people lived too far from the school, most still walk to school.
Even the website Walktoschool.org.uk tells me that 48% of UK children in 2008 were walking to school. Despite the claims that children are becoming obese because they don’t walk to school, almost half of children still walk, although that number is sinking.
Obviously there are many factors in play here. Where you live, how far from the school you are, whether you are dropping the children off on the way to work.
When we lived in Germany I often drove to Kindergarten, although it was no further away than my old school was from my childhood home. In the summer we went on bikes, but probably 80% of my journeys to and from Kindergarten were in the car. I would excuse myself by noting that I was actually on my way to the supermarket anyway, so it was not an extra journey, but often enough it was.
Since moving to Switzerland, I have continued to use the car, but less often. Organisation is the key, as we have to leave the house earlier. The walk takes just over 15 minutes when with the kids, I can do it in less than 10 if I have left the house too late and have to run most of the way.
We are in the countryside, and the local school is within walking distance. Since the mornings have become lighter, we have started walking again. Not only does it start the day off nicely, it gives me a bit of exercise in the morning, and I can combine it with walking the dog.
This morning it was dark and dreich, which makes walking along the narrow windy lane to school rather dangerous and uninviting.
Yesterday was a different story. Even as we left the house, I could tell that it was going to be a stunning morning. I grabbed my camera, and headed down to the lake after I had taken the kids to school.
Sometimes Lake Geneva is choppy, particularly when La Bise is visiting, but yesterday the lake was smooth and silent.
The Jura was dark when I arrived at the lake, but before long the sun rising behind me and gently warmed the snow covered tops. It was difficult to see the villages on the other side of the lake until the sun rose further, glinting in the windows of the houses so far away.
I took photographs until my hands turned blue with the cold, reminding me that I need to find gloves that are suitable for frosty morning photo shoots.
My school run is very scenic, but not particularly interesting. What about your school run? I miss being in a town, would love to be able to do some window shopping, and browse in shops on my way home. Or walk through a city park.