Cycle-friendly schools and colleges (Cycling UK views)
- Although many children want to cycle to school, on average only around 1-3% do so each year in the UK. In the Netherlands, most children cycle to and from school.
- Walking and driving are the most common forms of transport for the school-run.
- Travel for education is responsible for about 29% of trips starting between 8 and 9 am.
- The average distance travelled to get to school/college is approximately three miles.
- The NHS recommends that 5-18 year-olds take at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, ranging from moderate activity, such as cycling and playground activities, to vigorous activity, such as running and tennis.
- In England, more than one if five children in reception class, and more than one in three in Year Six is overweight or obese. In 2015 amongst 5-15 year-olds, 23% of boys and around a fifth of girls met the Government’s physical activity recommendations.
- In Scotland, 28% of 2-15 year-olds were either overweight or obese in 2015.
- In Wales, 11.6% of children in reception class were obese, with a further 14.5% classed as overweight in 2014/15. Amongst 4-15 year-olds, just half undertook physical activity for at least an hour on five or more days of the previous week, including 36% who did so every day.
- 10-16 year-old boys who cycle regularly to school are 30% more likely and girls seven times more likely to meet recommended fitness levels.
- Children who walk or cycle to school concentrate better than those who are driven there.
Cycling UK View (formal statement of Cycling UK's policy):
- Involving the whole school community (pupils, teachers, governors and parents), schools and colleges should:
- Actively recognise the health, social, environmental and educational benefits of encouraging students and staff to cycle.
- Develop, act on and monitor School Travel Plans that have cycling at their core; and publish pro-cycling policies.
- Arrange for Bikeability training and other activities to promote safe, fun and responsible cycling.
- Provide high quality facilities for pupils who cycle (e.g. parking, lockers for equipment etc).
- Remove all barriers to cycling (e.g. bans on parking cycles on the premises).
- Not impose restrictions on those who do cycle (e.g. a requirement to wear cycle helmets).
- Work with the local highways authority to improve road safety in the area.
- Local authorities should:
- Work positively with schools/colleges about cycling and offer resources to help them develop their Travel Plans.
- Jointly identify hostile conditions on local roads and treat them to help make cycling to and from school/college as hazard-free, attractive and convenient as possible (e.g. by introducing 20 mph speed limits, providing safe cycling links etc).
- School inspections and self-evaluations should assess the measures that school/colleges take to encourage active travel and reduce the impact they have on traffic volumes and road danger.
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Publication Date:January 2017