CHILDREN on Wearside are leaving others behind when it comes to walking to school each day.
In Sunderland, more than half of pupils walk to school and work is being carried in the city out to encourage the activity.
But a survey by charity Living Streets – carried out for National Walk to School Week, which starts on Monday – found 60 per cent of North East children said they can’t walk to school because it is too far away, even though the majority live within walking distance.
Forty-two per cent of youngsters said they were scared of cars travelling too fast and 29 per cent said there was a lack of safe crossing points on the journey to school.
Stephen Pickering, Sunderland City Council’s deputy executive director of city services, said: “Pupils at schools in Sunderland are actively encouraged to walk to school throughout the year, with available figures showing that more than half of all school pupils in the city regularly walk to school – which is above the national average.
“Working with young people, parents and schools, we have a number of road safety initiatives in place to encourage children to walk to school. These include a child pedestrian training programme available to all our primary school-age children and which is all about walking to school safely.
“Children are also involved in both games and classroom activities, which teach them how to use a pedestrian crossing, keep away from the kerb and always look out for cars.”
The Living Streets survey also found that 30 per cent of North East children were scared of walking in the dark, 41 per cent were afraid of stranger danger and 18 per cent were concerned about being bullied on the walk to school.
In the region, nine per cent of children said their parents did not have time to walk them to school and 37 per cent said they are not allowed to walk there without an adult.
Living Streets said the results of its survey should be a wake-up call to the Government if it is serious about tackling obesity and it should be doing more to help local authorities, parents and individuals to create healthier, happier communities.