Cycling to School
Around 90% of children have bikes and a third of children would like to cycle to school, but only a very small percentage do.
To complement our Cycling Town status we have been lucky in getting a Bike It Officer to work with local schools to increase cycling levels (find out more about Bike It here
). But why should we encourage more kids to cycle to school....?
it makes kids fitter and more alert
Experts tell us that children need at least one hour of moderate physical activity every day (for example, brisk walking or cycling). However half of all UK children donít get this. Nearly a quarter of primary school children are overweight and numbers are rising.
A more active lifestyle now, continued into adulthood, greatly improves a child's chance of living a long and healthy life. Physical inactivity is now well known as a far greater cause of heart disease than smoking, yet we still take it much less seriously. Many parents worry that children who cycle will be exposed to traffic fumes, but research shows that children inside cars are exposed to three times as much pollution as those outside.
Teachers often comment that children who walk or cycle to school arrive brighter and more ready to learn than those driven by car, and a recent US study showed a positive link between physical activity and performance in school tests.
itís good for your neighbourhood
At the peak school travel time almost 1 in 5 cars on urban roads are taking children to school. More children cycling to school would mean less cars on the roads, less traffic congestion, less pollution.
Itís easy to think that one less car on the road won't make any difference. But the more people who decide to cut out the school run, the safer our streets will become, and the easier it will be to encourage others.
it encourages independence
By allowing children to make their own way to school you can help them to learn important life skills. Cycling to school can help children to develop road sense, learn how to assess risk and think for themselves. They can become more confident and independent, which is especially important in the transition from primary to secondary school.
Cycling can improve childrenís self-confidence and independence and reduce stress and anxiety. For many itís just a fun thing to do and much more exciting than travelling by car.
it's a safe way to travel
Safety is the number one worry for many parents when it comes to letting their children cycle to school. Fortunately, serious accidents involving child cyclists are rare Ė fewer than 20% of all road accidents involving primary school children occur on the journey to school.
Please see our training pages for information on road safety and cycle training.
Safer Routes to School
These projects seek to improve safety on the journey to school and thus increase walking and cycling levels. Using an individually designed package of both practical and educational measures SRS aims to improve road safety, reduce congestion, reduce child casualties and improve children's health and fitness.
School Travel Plans
A School Travel Plan is a document that sets out a package of measures to encourage and enable sustainable ways to travel to school, particularly walking and cycling, and to help reduce car use for parents, pupils and staff. The School Travel Plan is produced by, and involves the whole school community.
It encourages parents, pupils and staff to look at the current situation, identify issues and concerns, and consider ways that can make the school journey safer, healthier and more pleasant for everyone.
What can a School Travel Plan do?
encourage more walking, cycling and use of public transport
improve health and fitness
help towards Healthy Schools Accreditation or Eco Schools awards
cut traffic pollution and congestion
help develop road safety skills
help develop social skills and prepare for safe independent travel
link to the National Curriculum
provide opportunities for real-life citizenship projects and school council engagement
link in to Every Child Matters: Change for Children reform agenda - be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution, achieve economic well-being
Ofsted - a successful Plan can enhance the reputation of a school
What help is available?
A dedicated School Travel Plan Adviser can guide the school through the travel plan process, with templates for questionnaires and the plan itself. Funding is currently available to schools that have an approved Travel Plan in place. For primary schools the grant will be £3,750 plus £5 per pupil and for secondary school £5,000 plus £5 per pupil.
The grant is for measures on the school grounds to support the Travel Plan such as cycle parking facilities, lockers (interior or exterior), making good footpaths on the school site, provision of separate pedestrian gate, or the provision of a pedestrian shelter.
For more details or information about School Travel Plans please contact the School Travel Plan Team on 01772 530701. More information is available at the County's School Travel website
Cycling and the Curriculum
Promoting cycling within the school curriculum can benefit children by exploring the varied issues surrounding cycling.
There are lots of reasons why children should cycle to school. Research shows that children who cycle are:
Learning about cycling will teach them about the importance of exercise, the environment, road safety, sustainability, freedom and much more. Ways of incorporating cycling into the curriculum include:
- The pros and cons of car use (PSHE, citizenship)
Mapping of cycle routes (Geography, IT)
Design posters promoting cycling, discouraging car use (Art)
Importance of physical exercise for health (PE, PSHE)
Local traffic / impact on the local area (Geography)
Environmental issues (Science, Geography)
The history of the bicycle eg it's role in women's rights and changing transport (History
Design and manufacture of bicycles (Design Technology)