Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Catch them young

Healthy habits have to be established at an early age. This is not rocket science, but common sense. Introducing children to cycling in schools as both a way of getting to and fro and a leisure pursuit is therefore key. This is what Bike It does so well. The Bike It officers that we have worked with have inspired children and our own projects, and been a wealth of knowledge. The Bike It project works directly with schools making the case for cycling in their school travel plans, supporting school champions who want to promote cycling, and demonstrating that cycling is a popular choice for children to get to school. The project adds to local investment in cycle routes and bike sheds by involving pupils, teachers and parents and enabling them to take the small steps which are necessary to make a real difference. During 2005/06 Bike It built on the success of the previous pilot year. By June 2006 an average of 10% of pupils in Bike It schools were cycling regularly to school. The National Travel Survey shows that the national average is 1%. Counts of parked bikes during the year show a near trebling of cycle use from a base of 3.7% of pupils cycling in September 2005. Read more about this succesful SUSTRANS program here.