This school year Sustrans Scotland will engage up to 14,400 school pupils – more than ever – through its I Bike project, which works in Scotland’s schools to get more young people cycling and walking, more often. In 2015-16 I Bike has expanded and now operates in nine local authorities across Scotland – up from five last year. New I Bike local authority areas include Dundee, Falkirk, Midlothian and North Ayrshire.
The project has seen an average 8 percentage point increase in rates of cycling within participating schools and a 4 percentage point increase in walking and scooting after one year of engagement. The average drop in pupils being driven to school is 4 percentage points.
Sustrans Scotland’s cycling officers deliver a planned programme of activities designed to bring about long term behavioural change. In particular, the scheme delivers practical solutions to tackle (1) the drop in cycling rates among pupils as they move from primary school to secondary school, and (2) the gender gap that sees fewer girls than boys choosing to cycle to school.
Sustrans Scotland delivers I Bike using funding from Transport Scotland, which is matched by participating local authorities.
Commenting on the expansion of I Bike, John Lauder, National Director of Sustrans Scotland, said:
“Our work in Scotland’s schools is giving children the skills and confidence they need to travel to school under their own steam and I’m delighted that it will reach a record number of pupils across Scotland this school year.
“Taking the school run by foot, bike, scooter or skates benefits the health of children and young people by incorporating a bit of physical activity into their daily routine. And, the evidence shows pupils getting to school under their own steam turn up more alert and ready to face the day than if they had arrived by car.”
Derek MacKay, Minister for Transport & Islands said:
“It is clear I Bike is a real success with up to 14,000 school pupils participating in the scheme this year across more local authorities than ever before. I am delighted so many children are cycling to school, resulting in fewer car journeys on the school run.
“Getting pupils excited about active travel is a key way forward if we are to meet our shared vision for cycling. Through an increase in funding for behaviour change projects such as I Bike, the Scottish Government is helping to cut carbon emissions while getting the nation healthier.”