Findings pre-intervention (from the 2014 focus groups)
Getting to and from common destinations (school, shops, parks, sports facilities, churches) was generally by car or on foot with walking trips almost always in the company of friends, siblings or other family members. The children said they did not want to walk alone, and many indicated they were not allowed to by their parents, mainly because of fears about violence and bullying from older youth, and concerns about crossing roads safely.
Independent bike and scooter use was mostly restricted to playing in the street near the children’s homes. Biking or scootering to school was rare, other than on school sponsored ‘wheels day’ events. If children ventured further afield on bikes they were generally accompanied by parents or other adult family members. Many of the children talked about being scared of encountering youth gangs in local parks, alleyways and dead-end streets. Difficulty crossing local roads and speeding cars were key traffic-related concerns.
Students wanted the area to be safer from people in cars and people in streets. They wanted more parks and walkways, for there to be basketball hoops in the park to make it more fun, and for playgrounds to be alcohol-free. They wanted dogs to be chained up so they couldn’t come onto the footpaths. And they wanted drivers to watch out for them.