Walking to school is dangerous.
That’s the considered advice of a … car campaigner from Coulsdon, as he tries to block a Croydon Council initiative to reduce polluting exhausts and to get some of the borough’s primary-aged children daily exercise on their journeys to school.
Peter Morgan cuts an increasingly ridiculous figure in his strident pro-vehicle rants, through social media and emails. He has been caught out using multiple digital identities to pervert the course of online consultations, been accused of illegally plastering campaign stickers over public property, while his bid to take over as chairman of the East Coulsdon Residents’ Association recently failed to muster much support, especially after he tried to block a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor from giving a talk to their meeting.
Having been kicked out of both the Croydon Conservatives and UKIP – where he was considered a constantly disruptive figure – this latest intervention really ought not surprise anyone. Nor be taken particularly seriously.
Morgan is the local representative of a fringe organisation calling itself the Association of British Drivers.
He is now leading a “campaign” against a scheme from the council, backed by the participating schools, to reduce congestion and, yes, danger on the roads by banning parents from parking their cars within set distance of school gates.
Some parents have objected to the walk-to-school scheme because it takes them longer to get their kids to or from school.
In a round-robin email headlined “DANGERS OF CHILDREN WALKING TO SCHOOL”, sent to a wide circulation list ahead of a meeting tonight of what Morgan calls the Coulsdon and Purley Road User Forum, he writes, “Children are safest being taken to school by car, and being dropped off as close to the school as possible.
“Walking is a dangerous mode, with only cycling and motor cycling more dangerous.
“Compelling children to cross busy main roads exposes them to a variety of dangers.”
Morgan’s even opposed to kids taking the bus to school because, he says, “you have to walk to the bus – and after getting off it”. Who’d have thunk it?
In an effort to prove his point, Morgan links to a video, from Norway, in which a group of schoolchildren disembark from a bus and then cross the road without properly looking for on-coming traffic. A collision with a large lorry is narrowly avoided, thankfully.
In this video which Morgan holds up as proof positive that walking to school is dangerous, no one was hurt.
But in the world inhabited by Morgan, this “shows why travel by main mode bus is actually far more risky than simple-minded statistics may suggest”.
Of course, for Morgan, the thought of reducing the number of vehicles on our roads as a means of reducing the risk of traffic collisions and pollution has never occurred.
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