Monday 3rd October saw the start of ‘Cycle to School Week 2022’ which celebrates the benefits of pedal power for children and encourages more cycling to school in the UK.
Recent figures released by Sustrans, custodians of the National Cycle Network here in the UK, show that only 2% of pupils actually cycle to school, but that more would like to if given the choice - with 14% of 6 to 15-year-olds surveyed saying it would be their preferred way of getting to school.
To encourage your youngsters to reap the health benefits of cycling to school, whilst staying safe, here are our top five tips to help them commute with confidence.
Be seen and be heard – Bright clothing is anything but boring these days and Velcro high viz vests make it easy for kids to swap from school-ready to bike-ready in seconds. Cool fingerless gloves aid grip and many have reflective detail for extra visibility. Whilst not as fashionable on the streets, a bell makes it easy to alert pedestrians and is extra handy on busy cycle-paths shared with joggers and dog walkers on the active school run.
- Bike maintenance – Make sure your child’s tyres are correctly inflated, lights are clean and working and all moving parts are in fine working order. If in doubt, ask your local bike store to give it a check-over. See our handy maintenance blog for more tips on getting bikes roadworthy.
- Heads first – Helmets are essential for safeguarding those busy brains and they must be fit for purpose. Try them on in-store to get the right fit of the straps and sizing to ensure comfort and maximum protection. Remember to keep checking your child’s helmet is still the right fit as children grow faster than we think!
- Don’t rush – Make sure that the route is planned and practised, leaving enough time for a leisurely cycle to and from school. Rushing can result in unsafe, hasty decisions that put lives at risk. Try to avoid areas with roadworks and if in doubt – ask your child to come off the bike as you navigate the hazards on foot instead.
- Bike security – How many parents do you see having to lug bikes back from school after drop off? Don’t be that parent! Most schools have safe areas for bike storage so just ask! That way you can lock the bike up with the helmet until the bell rings for home time!
For more information on this awareness day, visit www.bikeability.org.uk/cycletoschoolweek