Kids in Britain want to ask Harry to ditch the broomstick and walk with them to school, according to new research released today.

More than a fifth of school children are looking to inject a bit of magic into their daily commute by voting none other than the wonderful wizard Harry Potter as their most popular pedestrian pal. Kids clearly feel that Harry, the ultimate British schoolkid hero, would keep them safe on the roads.

But not all kids agree, 21% of the Britain’s school children would rather walk along with the ultimate fun dude Bart Simpson skateboarding by their side, while 12% wanted the quirky childhood cartoon hero, SpongeBob SquarePants as their companion.

The survey was commissioned by Kia Motors to support the UK’s Official Walk to School Week, which kicks off today. The campaign encourages children to adopt a healthier daily routine and is supported by Kia Motors through its nationwide Walking Bus scheme.

Further findings show that there’s no safer school buddy than a superhero and one in ten kids agree by voting for Spiderman. Rather than scaling buildings, 8% of children would rather exchange cheeky remarks with the giant green ogre, Shrek. Plodding along at the back of the queue is Barney the Dinosaur with 3% of the vote. Keep up Barney!

The full walk to school wish list is as follows:

Character % of vote
1 .Harry Potter 22
2. Bart Simpson 21
3. SpongeBob SquarePants 12
4. Spiderman 11
5. Shrek 8
= 6. Bob the Builder 7
= 6. Stuart Little 7
8. Nemo 6
9. Ash from Pokemon 4
10. Barney the Dinosaur 3

Paul Williams, Managing Director of Kia Motors (UK) Limited said, "What better way to get the latest tips on Quidditch than to walk to school with Harry Potter? Although we may not be able to provide a real wizard, we hope that the Kia Walking Bus scheme will help and encourage parents to get their kids walking to school. On weekday mornings nearly 20% of cars on the road are doing ‘the school run’, so not only is this scheme a healthy start to the day, but it would also help ease this congestion."

The Kia Walking Bus scheme has been running since 2000 and usually has about 15-20 children with 6-10 parents helping at different times. It operates just like a normal bus - but on foot. It takes the same route to school every day picking the kids up along the way. It has a 'driver' at the front and a 'conductor' at the back who are specially trained parents. As part of the scheme Kia supplies high-visibility jackets for both children and adults taking part.

Not only is the Kia walking bus a great way to get kids to school with leg power instead of petrol, it also gives kids the chance to exercise, get some fresh air and have fun with their friends before their school day starts. For parents it gives reassurance that their kids have arrived at school safely and on time. To find out how to set one up visit

Published : 22/05/06 Author : Melanie Carter

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