Three quarters of children at schools which are part of our Bike It project cycle, scoot or walk to school, a new report by our Research & Monitoring Unit shows.
Results taken from 15 schools in the city show that after just two years of engagement in the project, 75% of pupils usually travel to school via active modes. Car use by parents dropping children off to school also declined over the period to 23.7%, from 25.4%.
Erin Gray, our Active Travel officer for York, worked with school staff, governors, parents and pupils to inspire everyone to travel more actively, reduce car travel and create a culture of cycling and walking in the school environment. Erin organised activities to encourage people to try active ways of travelling to school, such as led bike rides, bike breakfasts and maintenance sessions and our annual Big Pedal, in which schools compete nationally to win prizes for the most journeys cycled or scooted to school.
During 2016-17, there were 12,662 pupil attendances at 197 events in 21 schools to promote cycling and walking in the schools, with 998 attendances from parents and teachers.
The children take part in activities which link to other areas of the curriculum from physical education, such as geography and maths. In one activity children survey their streets to look at how improved design could make a safer and more attractive environment for walking and cycling. Five-minute parking zones were also set up around schools to encourage parents to ‘park and stride’ when they drop their children off to school, to improve safety and reduce air pollution around school entrances.
“It’s been fantastic to work with York schools and help inspire the next generation of residents to choose cycling or walking for short journeys. York is very congested with traffic, particularly during drop off and pick up times at the school gates. By working with parents and teachers as well as children we help to encourage a culture of active travel in the whole school community.”
Adrian Mann, Year 3/4 class teacher at St. Oswald’s CE Primary School said:
“This has been a very empowering and exciting experience for the children. It’s been wonderful to see their passion and enthusiasm for improving their local area. They’ve some great ideas to address the issues identified through our learning walk and Big Street Survey activities.”
We have been working in schools in York since 2009, funded by City of York Council’s iTravel York programme.