A special milestone has recently been reached in Peterborough. Since 2012 Peterborough City Council has secured funding through its Travelchoice programme to fund the Sustrans Bike It Plus scheme. And now our Bike It Plus officers have engaged with 70,000 pupils, teachers and families at schools across the city, promoting cycling, walking, scooting and skating.
The landmark was reached during a balance bikes session for Early Years Foundation Studies (EYFS) and cycle skills with Key Stage 2 pupils at Beeches Primary School. To celebrate the achievement, we awarded two bikes to the school as a special thank you.
Over five years we've worked in collaboration with Travelchoice in a third of the city’s 73 schools with encouraging results. After the first year, eight out of ten children said they would prefer to cycle their school run. Almost a quarter regularly cycled to school and fewer pupils were driven to school overall.
In Peterborough, Bike It officers work with schools running sessions with parents, pupils and staff. These include time spent on learning to ride a bike, cycle skills, scooter skills, bike mechanics, road safety assemblies and balance bikes sessions with early years children. There’s also an opportunity for parents and pupils to enter interschool competitions.
Speaking at Beeches Primary School, our Schools and Communities Officer Gemma Hughes said:
“The Peterborough Bike It Plus project excites and enthuses children about active travel whilst giving them the skills, knowledge and confidence to choose active travel over the car. We are absolutely delighted to reach this astonishing milestone and would like to thank Peterborough City Council for their ongoing support, as well as all of the Peterborough Bike It Plus Schools for their hard work and commitment. Our work consistently increases the levels of active travel to school, whilst reducing the number of children travelling by car, which proves that with investment and the right support people will switch to healthier and more sustainable forms of transport”.
Jessica Wilson Early Years Teacher at Beeches Primary School said:
“I have seen a large increase in the number of children and parents that cycle, scoot and walk to school. It has helped develop pupils' understanding of road safety and making sure they are safe as they cycle, scoot or walk to school. Another benefit has been encouraging parents and school staff to want to bike and walk to school”.
Dr Liz Robin, Peterborough City Council’s Director of Public Health, said:
“It is well evidenced that Bike It helps children stay active by building walking and cycling into their everyday school journey. The benefits of the programme are that pupils, parents and teachers develop their skills and confidence for active travel, encouraging greater road awareness and highlighting safer routes to school.”