FEAR of cars and dodging traffic prompted a councillor mother to make a passionate call for ways to improve walking routes to school.

Green councillor Sarah Nield wants more signs and other visual elements to encourage drivers across Brighton and Hove to think more carefully around schools.

She presented a petition signed by more than 1,200 people and asked in a notice of motion to Brighton and Hove City Council for a report exploring how safer walking routes can be achieved within a ten-minute zone around schools.

Cllr Nield reminded members that October is International Walk To School Month, where children are congratulated for walking in and get a sticker.

She described families as “launching everything most precious to them” into rush-hour traffic on the school run every morning.

Cllr Nield said that communities are frustrated as they campaign for crossings but do not get them because a road is deemed safe due to the lack of accidents.

She said: “A road is not safe just because it has no crash record. A road is safe to cross when a family feels safe while they cross it.

“A road is not safe to cross if you need super-adult ninja-level traffic-dodging skills to get across it at 8.45am.

“The lack of casualty statistics around our schools, which we in Brighton and Hove are still too reliant on to determine so-called safety, is a testament to the heart-in-the-mouth, hand-slammed-on-the-car-bonnet, ‘come on, kids – watch for a gap and we’ll all run across together’, helicopter parenting we somehow accept as normal.

“And it is not good enough. We are failing our children.”

She was backed by fellow Green Sue Shanks, who suggested that everyone get on “Shanks’s pony”, an old term for walking.

Cllr Shanks said it was often a struggle for parents, mainly women, who try to get children to school and then make their way on to work.

When she started school in the 1950s everyone walked to school. There was less traffic then. And her sons walked too in the 1990s

Cllr Shanks said there were 38.7 million cars on the roads, a number that has increased by more than half since 1990.

Conservative councillor Samer Bagaeen said to find out more about his own children’s experience, he caught the bus with them from the Royal Sussex County Hospital to school and was shocked at the condition of the bus that he later found out was “old stock”.

Cllr Bagaeen said: “They are not allowed on that bus any more. It is not in a condition I would stick a 12-year-old in at 7.30 in the morning. The windows are sealed, cannot be opened and kids are standing on both decks.”

He said more, better buses were needed to encourage children to walk and catch the bus if needed.

Labour councillor John Allcock, who chairs the council’s children, young people and skills committee, said the council was committed to helping children walk to and from school safely.

He listed a host of projects and work with schools to help children, including pedestrian training in Years 1 and 3 and scootability for older pupils.