Children across the UK are jumping on their bikes and scooters over the next two weeks in an attempt to reduce 70 million balloons worth of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
Parents and teachers in Scotland will leave their cars at home for their normal trips to and from school, preventing over 200,000 car journeys from taking place. Instead they will be cycling and scooting over 330,000 miles during the Big Pedal, a two week cycling and scooting competition run by charity Sustrans.
Across Scotland, 222 schools took part in 2015, with a combined total of 39,030 pupils participating, racking up a massive 128,647 journeys to school by bike and scooter. We’re hoping to see even more pupils and schools taking part this year, with lots of great prizes on offer.
As well as reducing pollution which affects us all, the Big Pedal can also help reduce individuals’ exposure to pollutants. Reports have shown that children who travel actively could reduce their exposure to Nitrogen Oxides by up to 60% as concentrations are higher inside the vehicle than outside.
John Lauder, National Director at Sustrans Scotland, said:
“Competitions such as the Big Pedal help encourage active travel from a young age, which means Scotland’s children can develop good habits that will be continued into later life. This is good news as the evidence shows that increased physical activity can help us lead healthier – and happier – lives.
“Taking the school run by foot, bike, scooter or skates benefits the health of children and young people by incorporating more 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.”
As well as providing environmental and health benefits, the Big Pedal also enables parents and teachers in Scotland to save money, last year over £43,000 was saved in fuel costs by people cycling and scooting, instead of driving during the competition.
Over 1500 schools, containing nearly half a million children, are taking part in the Big Pedal across the UK, which runs from 18-29 April.