Organised by Sustrans in partnership with the Bikeability Trust, schools across the UK are encouraged to take part in the 2020 Bike to School Week, which will run from 28 September to 2 October.
Xavier Brice, CEO at Sustrans said, “We’re delighted to be able to run Bike to School Week again this year, after what has been a time of great uncertainty for all families across the country. And now, more than ever, it is vital that as many pupils as possible are able to cycle to school through the creation of dedicated routes and removing cars from the school gates.”
Brice continues, “as we begin to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis, and families are looking for physically distanced ways to move around, it is essential steps are taken to ensure the school run is as safe and healthy as possible for everyone. We are therefore calling on local authorities across the UK to work to help schools and families make active travel the safest and most appealing option, and for schools to get involved in the Bike to School Week when it launches in September.”
Bike to School Week celebrates cycling and the benefits that active forms of travel can have on children. Whilst research suggests that more people have opted for a two wheeled form of travel during the Covid-19 lockdown, figures have suggested that only 2% of children cycle to school.
Despite this low statistic, a recently released document from the Department for Education shows that due to social distancing guidelines on public transport, including school buses, at least 50% of journeys to school of two miles or less will need to be walked or cycled in order to allow for others to take public transport if they travel larger distances.
Sustrans believes that it is vital for local authorities to partner with schools and encourage walking, cycling and scooting to school, as this is perhaps the most appealing and safest way for families to maintain social distancing guidelines. Additionally, this will in turn prevent an increase in congestion come September as well as benefiting air quality and health. Furthermore, cycle training, such as courses provided by Bikeability, can also help pupils cycle safely and confidently on the road.
Emily Cherry, Executive Director at The Bikeability Trust said, “we are delighted to support Bike to School Week and work in partnership with Sustrans to celebrate cycling to school”. Cherry goes on to say, “the Bikeability Trust has taught over 3.5 million children in England to ride a bike competently on the road and Bike to School Week is a fantastic opportunity for these children to demonstrate and develop the skills they have been taught by our cycle training. We hope that this week will inspire them to continue cycling throughout the school year and beyond.”
There are several resources available to teachers to support schools during Bike to School Week. Resources include school posters as well as a pack of activities that children can complete in class. These activities have been put together to encourage children to understand the benefits of riding their bike to school and to consider the causes of air pollution and its effects. A video guide has also been provided with examples of how to check that your bike is safe to ride. Furthermore, teachers can also access the Bikeability Trust’s ‘Tools for Schools’ resources Early Years, and Key Stages 1 and 2.
Sustrans will also be awarding a prize to one student if they share photos and videos with the hashtag #SustransWin in a new social media competition.
More information on Bike to School Week, including access to resources can be viewed at: www.sustrans.org.uk/biketoschoolweek
Sustrans has recently received over £95,000 funding from the Road Safety Trust to evaluate the impact of school streets on the safety of surrounding roads.