It’s very hilly in Bath and there are no bike lanes, so cycling or scooting to school is not easy or safe. We live close enough to my children’s school that we can walk, but most other parents have to drive: there’s no designated school bus, nor is there a safe drop off point away from school.
Because of COVID, parents have been asked to drive right up to the front door and drop the kids there (without parking). This usually means a long queue of cars waiting to drop off or pick up their children, usually with the engines on.
The streets outside the school are very narrow with high walls, which trap pollution. Big SUV’s churning out diesel career up them once the children have been dropped off or picked up. The poisonous smell worries me, but we have no choice except to walk in their fumes.
I know how bad this is for my children’s health. One of my daughters has asthma and she’s already been to hospital in an ambulance in the middle of the night because of a bad attack. If they breathe this terrible air twice a day every day they go to and from school, what does this mean for their growing bodies? How many more hospital visits might it mean?
There is even a clean air zone in Bath, but I walk in it most days: it stinks of diesel and is full of cars and traffic jams. I really can’t tell the difference from before we had it.
Imagine if the council could invest in designated bike lanes across the whole city, and subsidise long term rental (or purchase) of electric bikes so people didn’t have to drive to school any more. Or even if we had school buses like they do in the U.S. (electric of course!!!).