In a Sustrans survey of 19,000 children in both primary and secondary schools conducted in the school year 2007/08, 8 percent of children said they now cycle to school every day, compared to 4 percent before the Sustrans Bike It project.
Now in its fifth year, Bike It works directly with schools in England, and now in Wales too, that want to increase levels of cycling. Bike It officers arrange practical cycling activities, contribute to classroom work, organise cycling training and do a range of other things from arranging for bike sheds to involving parents in the project. The officers each support around 12 schools for a year or more.
Twenty six percent of the children said they now cycle to school at least once a week compared to 14 percent before Bike It and the percentage who said they never cycled to school dropped from 75 to 55 percent. Sixty nine percent of the schools said the number of children being driven to school had fallen, and 97 percent felt that cycling levels had increased. Special success stories included a survey in one London school showing an increase in those cycling to school at least once a week from 2 to 51 percent.
Special events, such as the Fashion2Ride show to exhibit students’ cycle clothing designs at Charter Secondary School in Southwark are all part of the fun. The Bike It officer for Reigate and Banstead Borough Council is organizing for 14 schools to take part in this year’s national virtual bike race, ‘Round the World’, following the 46,000 mile route that adventurer Alastair Humphreys cycled and the man himself will be coming to talk to schools and parents about his epic journey.
A big new Bike It project has just been launched in Cycling Demonstration City Bristol. Working with 72 schools, the aim is to double the number of children cycling to school in Bristol by 2010.
Paul Osborne, Sustrans Director of School Travel says, “The Bike It project continues to lead the way as one of the UK’s most successful projects bringing about change in the travel behaviour of young people.
“Our fourth annual report shows clearly how much the 440 schools (and 89,000 children) we have worked with across England and Wales value the enthusiastic, hands-on support and popular activities delivered by our creative team of 43 dedicated Bike It Officers.”