Walking (and cycling) can be good for our health, good for getting around, good for public spaces and good for society. They both have the potential to improve health and help reduce congestion
Cycling to school
A recent survey of Bedfordshire schools showed that cycling to school was the preferred mode of many pupils.
So, should we be encouraging pupils to cycle to school?
Many feel it is simply too dangerous, young people don't necessarily have the correct road skills or experience, there is nowhere to store bikes and in many cases the local environment is not cycle friendly.
Whilst these concerns are legitimate there is much we can do through the development of a school travel plan to enable and encourage cycling to school. This may be through seeking funds to make the necessary changes to the environment, installing secure cycle storage or perhaps most importantly equipping young people with the necessary skills to make them safe, confident road users.
Cycle training for schools
Bikeability has replaced the old cycling proficiency test that is available through the Road Safety Team.
Whether as a school you allow pupils to cycle or not, it is key that the school acts as the provider for cycle training – a skill that has benefits far beyond the journey to and from school. All pupils should be given the opportunity to participate in cycle training and Bedford Borough Council run Bikeability level 1 and 2 training free of charge for years 5 and 6.
For lower schools Bikeability level 1 cycle courses are available which provide pupils with some of the safety issues to help them and their parents gain increased confidence when riding their bike. In addition your school should develop a cycle policy, in line with the latest advice from Bedford Borough Council.
It is important that schools consider cycling within their own local environment and are therefore encouraged to develop a cycle policy as part of the school travel plan.
In this way the right measures will be in place to encourage safer cycling to school.
For further help and support with regard to any cycling issues you can email the Road Safety Team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other useful information can be found in the related documents and via the following web sites.