Groningen has recently implemented a stopping ban by many of its primary schools. This is to spread to cover all schools in the city within a two and half years and will be rolled out as the safety of home-school routes is enhanced.
This means it is now illegal to stop with a car adjacent to the schools between 8 am and 4 pm on week days. i.e. No children may be taken to school by car.
By British or American standards, the rate of children being taken to school by car is already extremely low. Just try to spot any children being taken to school by car in this video shot at a local primary school.
Of course, a good idea like this won't just stay in one place. It's also spreading to other towns within the Netherlands. Perhaps it can also spread outside this country ?
It is vitally important for cycle campaigners to campaign for children. Today's children are tomorrow's cyclists - or perhaps not if the infrastructure isn't good enough and streets are so subjectively unsafe that parents won't let their children cycle.
And further afield ?
Like most countries outside the Netherlands, Britain could do with trying this. Here's the scene that we saw every day outside Mayfield primary school which my children attended in Cambridge. Virtually all the cars in the picture have brought a child to school. Even the car in the middle of this road junction is parked, as is the one in front of it which is obstructing the dropped kerb.
When "everyone else is doing it", there is no legal enforcement against illegal parking, and there are generally no really safe ways of getting to the schools by bike, is it such a surprise that parents see driving their children as the only safe option ?
Update 24/2/2010 Mayfield primary school in Cambridge has now decided to campaign against a ban on parking in a cycle lane on a road a few hundred metres from the school on the grounds of "concerns about where parents will leave their cars when they drop off and collect their children". My mind hurts at the mere thought of such stupidity.
Update 2011 Despite the school, and others, protesting against them, the very timid proposal of slightly widening cycle lanes on one road in Cambridge did go through - but what they did was to a much lower standard than it should and could have been. Note that this doesn't change the situation on the road which the school itself is one, as that's in a different road. Similar scenes to those in my photos continue at that school and many others in the UK, and other countries.
school travel, including videos and photos of schools and children on bikes. Also see posts about the problems facing British children vs, the joy of being a Dutch child.
The difference between walking and cycling safety
19 hours ago