Pupils from TilehouseSchool in Buckinghamshire cycled to school for a free bike breakfast as they celebrated the arrival of the highly-acclaimed Sustrans project – Bike It.
This unique project works with schools across England and Wales to encourage children and young people to choose two wheels instead of four for their school journey.
Bike It officer, Clare Robinson, will be working with TilehouseCombinedSchool and 11 other schools across Slough and South Buckinghamshire over the next 12 months.
The Bike It project works directly with pupils, parents and staff to help them overcome whatever it is that is preventing them from cycling to school by organising cycle training, helping to install new bike sheds, contributing to classroom work and providing information about safe routes to schools.
Participating schools across England have seen levels of cycling treble within a year – bucking the trend in declining numbers of children cycling to school.
Robinson said: “It’s vital that we give young people the opportunity to travel in ways, which are healthy, sustainable and fun.
“We know from our research that almost a third of children would like to cycle to school when only 2% currently do – there’s an enormous potential for increasing cycling levels in this country.”
Meanwhile, HenleazeJuniorSchool in Bristol has also joined the scheme.
As they city embraces its new status as CyclingCity, Sustrans is preparing to recruit four Bike It officers to work across more than 40 schools in Greater Bristol and 12 in Bath and North East Somerset (BNES).
Bike It officer Emma Mather said: “I am delighted that HenleazeJuniorSchool has joined the Bike It project, the staff and pupils are really enthusiastic about increasing the cycling levels at the school.
“Over the next two years we’ll be working together to remove or reduce barriers that are currently preventing children from pedalling to classes. Cycling to school has so many benefits for pupils such as improved health, confidence and concentration as well as the obvious benefits for the environment in which they will grow up in.”
Mike Baugh, Road Safety Education Team Leader at Bristol City Council said: “In our CyclingCity bid we said we wanted to double the number of children cycling to school. We know that Bike It can help us to achieve that. We are looking for many more schools to become Bike It schools over the next few years.”
Staff, parents and teachers who are interested in promoting cycling and walking in their school are encouraged to call the Sustrans School Travel Team on 0117 915 0100 for free information and advice.