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Number of pupils cycling to school in London doubles

School children cycling to school
13 July 2015

Data released by Sustrans today has revealed that the number of pupils regularly cycling to school in London doubled in the past year, thanks to a programme which encourages pupils to be more active on the school run.

The data* shows that the number of children cycling regularly to school doubled from 6 per cent (1,883) to 12.5 per cent (4,097) in Primary and Secondary schools which were intensively engaged with the programme.

It also revealed that 41 per cent (12,270) of pupils surveyed would prefer to cycle to school than any other mode of transport.

To celebrate the success of the project in creating over 4000 young cyclists in London, we're hosting the Bike It Plus Festival at the Lee Valley VeloPark, on Tuesday 14 July.

At the festival two hundred students from twelve London schools will try out Mountain Biking, BMX and track cycling as well as taking part in a workshop with BMX champions Keelan Phillips and Matti Hemmings and compete in Rollapaluza’s high octane static cycle challenge.

The Bike It Plus programme, which is delivered by us and funded by Transport for London and local authorities, works in over 500 schools across London to promote cycling to school.

Research we commissioned earlier this year revealed that nearly half (49 per cent) of parents in London say that their child does as little as 40 minutes or less exercise in a typical weekday, even though the average distance to primary school is just 1.6 miles - a distance which could be cycled in 20 minutes.

By giving pupils the skills and confidence they need to cycle the short distance to school, Sustrans’ Bike It Plus programme has encouraged 4,095 new pupils in London to cycle regularly to school in 2015.

German Dector-Vega, Director of Sustrans London, said:

“These results show that it is possible to tackle the epidemic of physical inactivity head-on with something as simple as cycling to school.

“Sustrans’ work in schools is an effective way to help children get an hour of exercise a day without putting extra strain on parents or teachers, instilling a sense of fun and a love for physical activity which will stay with children for the rest of their lives.”

Martin Fry, a teacher at East Barnet Secondary, said:

“Sustrans’ Bike It Plus programme has made a huge difference at East Barnet Secondary. We now have over 20 children cycling in regularly.

“Creating a cycling culture is all about creating peer role models for cycling and providing exciting opportunities to reward and inspire the students, and the Bike It Plus program is an excellent example of how to do that.”

By working closely with schools, Sustrans provides a bespoke programme of activities and works with children, parents and staff through classroom sessions, playground workshops and incentive schemes to encourage them to change the way they travel. The officers also work with the school community to help them plan safe routes to and from their homes.

Find out more about our work in schools

Find out more information on our Bike It Plus programme in London

* Data taken from Sustrans’ Hands-up survey. 126 schools across London completed The Hands-up survey, a questionnaire that the charity asks children in those schools who are in their first year of engagement with Sustrans about how they get to school at the start and end of the academic year. The results aim to show the impact of the charity’s work over the year. In the 2014-15 academic year 28,429 pupils were surveyed in the pre survey and 32,804 pupils were surveyed in the post survey.