Nearly twice as many children are now cycling to school in the UK compared with five years ago, according to sustainable transport charity Sustrans.
Eight percent of 19,000 primary and secondary school pupils surveyed by the charity last year said they cycle to school every day, and 26 percent ride in at least once a week.
In a similar survey five years ago, before the introduction of Sustrans’ Bike It project, just four percent rode to school every morning and 14 percent cycled in at least once a week.
The percentage who said they never cycled to school has now dropped from 75 percent to 55 percent. Some 69 percent of schools said the number of children arriving by car had fallen, and 97 percent felt that cycling levels had increased.
A survey in one London school showed an increase in those cycling to school at least once a week from two percent to 51 percent.
Paul Osborne, Sustrans’ director of school travel, said: “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.”
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 cycling activities, contribute to classroom work, organise cycling training and help with everything from installing bike sheds to involving parents in the project.
A big new Bike It project has just been launched in Bristol. Working with 72 schools, the aim is to double the number of children cycling to school in the city by 2010.