A Year of Success for Bike Friendly Schools
Over 2000 children have had support from learning to ride for the first time to making the journey to secondary school by bike thanks to a West Yorkshire Combined Authority initiative. 981 children have attended sessions helping them ride for the first time.
Since the 2016 opening of the award-winning Leeds-Bradford Cycle Superhighway – the only segregated cycle superhighway between two major cities in the country – schools on or near the route have had additional help to get their pupils cycling through the CityConnect Bike Friendly Schools scheme.
2059 children from nine schools along the route have received intensive cycling training from the CityConnect team and instructors from Bradford-based BeCycling, with half of those learning to ride for the first time. The scheme has proved especially popular among teachers, with 100% of the teachers who took part saying they would run the sessions again.
The scheme aims to help schools ensure all their pupils learn to ride by the time they leave school, through extra training for staff and loans of bikes. Extra training is available to complement the national Bikeability programme, with activities including helping year 6 pupils ride to their secondary schools, enabling children to keep cycling as they take next steps in education.
Ian Larkin, Teacher and Cycle Champion for Pudsey Primrose Hill School said:
“Becoming a bike friendly school has enabled us to further promote sustainable travel to and from school. Working closely with CityConnect allowed us to provide a wealth of cycling opportunities that our children would otherwise not have had.
“CityConnect helped us organise cycling workshops at our school for both children and parents to attend as well as supporting our end of year cycle for year 6. All these positive experiences enriched our children's learning as well as providing them with the chance to learn and master riding their bike.”
Cllr Keith Wakefield, Chair of the Transport Committee for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, added:
“In parts of West Yorkshire, as few as one in five households has access to a bike and an unfortunate consequence of this is that many children never learn to ride.
“By ensuring that schools can train those children who don’t learn at home, we’re giving many more people the chance to use and enjoy the improvements we’re making in future – and potentially encouraging more parents onto bikes as well.”
In addition to the cycle training sessions, 130 extra bike parking places have been installed at the participating schools, making it easier for pupils to cycle to and from school.
The next round of applications for the Bike Friendly Schools scheme is now open for schools during summer term. This time, even more schools will be eligible, as the CityConnect team is looking to work in new areas including as a second phase of infrastructure projects gets underway across West Yorkshire and York.
Check with CityConnect to see if your school is in the eligible areas and sign them up to be a Bike Friendly School.
To find out more information, go to www.cyclecityconnect.co.uk/get-active/working-with-schools/ to find out more.