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Cycling


So why is cycling to school a good idea?
Cycle training
What cycle related initiatives might feature in a School Travel Plan?
Common issues

Facts

Cycling is always popular when school children are asked how they would like to travel to and from school. However, nationally, less than 1% of young people cycle to school.1

Why is this when cycling is healthy, cheap, environmentally friendly and can give young people a sense of freedom and independence?

As a nation around 60% of men and 70% of women are currently not physically active enough to benefit their health. Not only can cycling improve an individuals health it can also benefit the environment by reducing the number of car journeys.

Cartoon image of a child cycling in the rain.

So why is cycling to school a good idea?

  • Cycling to and from school is a relatively low cost way to integrate physical activity into daily routine and the majority of children already own a bike.
  • Regular cyclists typically have a level of fitness equivalent to someone ten years younger .2 So, if students start cycling at school they may be more likely to carry on into their adult lives - those cycling regularly beyond their mid-thirties could add two years to their life expectancy.2
  • Nearly a quarter of all journeys by car are currently one mile or less and 42% are within two miles.2 How many of your students come to school by car but live within these distances?
  •  Research shows that, in general, higher levels of cycling seem to result in lower accident rates and that cycling gets safer as it becomes more popular.3

Cycle training

The County Council offers Bikeability for  all year 6 pupils. For more information, please see Road Safety's website

Cartoon image of a cycle MOT

 

What cycle related initiatives might feature in a School Travel Plan? 

  • Investigate the potential for  traffic calming measures both on and off site
  • Investigate the possibilities of  traffic free routes and/or cycle lanes  on popular routes to schoolImage of cycling to school
  •  Provide maps of cycle routes to your school
  • For larger school sites consider creating additional, more convenient cycle/pedestrian accesses
  • Run promotional campaigns in school to encourage greater cycle use
  • Consider segregated cycle routes on-site between school gates and cycle storage areas
  • Provide reflective clothing at reduced rate or possibly free.

Further information on these and other initiatives can be found in Identifying Solutions and developing initiatives.

Common issues

How to tackle some of the more common issues raised by potential cyclists…

"But where can I leave my bike?"

Times have moved on from the old fashioned bike sheds which always seemed to be sited as far away from the main school entrances as possible. Cycle parking should preferably be covered and within a lockable enclosure. It should also be prominently positioned and overlooked by classrooms or school offices. The provision of safe and secure cycle parking can have a positive impact on the numbers of pupils cycling to and from school. There are many different types of cycle storage available and we can advise on location and appropriate storage. You could ask your pupils to design their own ideal cycle storage as a starting point.

"But I have all these books to carry…"

Pupils can be put off the thought of cycling by the amount of books and equipment they need to carry to and from school. There is no easy solution to this although the provision of conveniently placed and sized lockers where pupils can leave helmets, lights etc. can help. If there is a shortage of lockers pupils who cycle or walk furthest could be given first priority. 

"But my school doesn't encourage us to cycle…"

The school may have some specific areas of concern that cause it to restrict cycling, there may be insufficient cycle parking, or perhaps they are concerned about safety or pupil behaviour. There are a number projects that can be implemented to address some of these issues:

  • Cycle training – contact the Road Safety team for advice on setting up training schemes at your school.
  • Cycle parking permits – pupils have to sign up to an agreement which could include behaviour while cycling, road worthiness of the bike, the use of lights and appropriate clothing.

Related documents

My Journey Get Cycling guide