The Big Pedal, run by Sustrans, is back for another year and for 2016 the walking and cycling charity has provided a number of top tips for parents to plan safe routes to school.
The competition is the UK’s largest inter-school cycling and scooting competition. Last year children, parents and teachers who took part in the Big Pedal travelled over 3 million miles on their bikes and scooters, equivalent to 15 trips to the moon!
A total of 67 schools from Northern Ireland took part in last year’s competition and together made more than 33,000 bike and scooter journeys to school.
St Ciaran’s Primary in Cushendun was the top performing school in Northern Ireland and was in the Top 20 of schools across the whole of the UK (out of 1,720 schools). The primary school achieved a daily average of 76% of pupils travelling to school by bike or scooter over the 10-day challenge.
To help even more children take part in 2016, Sustrans has put together a list of tips to help parents and teachers plan their journeys to school on bikes and scooters during the Big Pedal and beyond.
Beth Harding, Active Travel Coordinator for Sustrans Northern Ireland, has worked in schools promoting cycling for over five years. She said: “Who wants to sit in traffic jams everyday on the school run? Children certainly don’t want to. Our survey has shown that eight out of ten children want to get to school on their own steam, but only half of pupils currently do. As many as 43% of pupils want to cycle to school, but just 6% do.
“The Big Pedal competition aims to encourage more children to cycle and scoot the school journey. Our top tips will help parents and teachers plan safe routes for children to get to school themselves. Cycling and scooting to school doesn’t just reduce congestion; children that regularly cycle to school are fitter, more alert and better learners too.”