The charity Sustrans reported towards the end of last year that, according to its 2021 Bike to School Week survey, just 2% of the UK’s children cycle to, although many more would like to. In the Netherlands, almost half of all (49%) of pupils travel to school on two wheels, while for secondary students the figure is 75%. Schools and families can help increase the take-up in this country.
Benefits of getting on your bike to school
There are so many of these, including:
- Increased confidence and greater independence.
- Improved physical fitness, while enjoying a great start to the day – according to NHS guidelines, school children should exercise for about an hour a day. What’s more, UK government data shows just over a quarter (25.5%) of children aged 10 to 11 (Year 6) are obese – this 2020/21 data was gathered as part of the National Child Measurement Programme.
- Cycling to school provides an energy surge before classes begin in the morning, which will also enhance concentration in lessons.
- Biking reduces rush-hour congestion, ultimately leading to fewer carbon emissions and less pollution.
- Finally, you will also save on petrol money – as well as being sustainable, cycling is a very cheap mode of transport.
Getting kids on their bikes
More parents, pupils and teachers are calling for change on biking to school. To get the ball (or wheels!) rolling at your school, speed things up by establishing a small steering group to put a plan together, including arranging things like cycling proficiency training. This could include members from across the school community, from the PTA to staff, governors and parents, among others, plus local cycling campaign groups.
There are many national and local schemes and organisations which can help, from Sustrans to the Modeshift STARS national schools awards programme and Bike Week.
Other ideas include promoting a ‘bike bus’ where a group pedals to classes together, a ‘Bike Doctor’ session with a local mechanic who will check bikes over, or getting more confident cyclists to buddy up with more nervous bikers who are unsure of the safest routes. They can meet up and travel together until the novices feel happy making the trip on two wheels on their own.
Ensure secure bike parking
This should be a cornerstone of any biking to school initiative. You may be able to apply for local authority funding, or get a local bicycle shop to sponsor your bike shelter.
But without enough safe storage for pupils’ machines, any drive to increase cycling is likely to falter. Parents will always want to know their kids’ bikes can be kept securely throughout the school day, protected from theft and vandalism and the worst of the great British weather.
Cycle shelters from Kensington Systems
Expandable, modular shelters allow you to offer numerous cycle spaces at your school.
At Kensington Systems, we fit an extensive range of tough, hardwearing yet smart-looking school cycle shelters. We offer a wide range of designs in wood and metal depending on your preference.
Check out the lockable bike shelters in our range today. And remember we draw on 30 years’ experience, so be in touch if you have any queries and we’ll be glad to answer them.