Keeping the wheels turning in West Yorkshire during COVID-19

Bradford school children benefit from bike and helmet loans thanks to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect scheme

Man and woman on bikes outside school entrance
Geoff Senior, Site Manager, and Claire Greenwood, Vice Principal at Westminster C of E Primary Academy.

Primary school children in Bradford have been boosting their cycling skills thanks to bike and helmet loans provided through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme aimed at enabling more people to travel by bike and on foot.

Work is underway across the region to enable more people to travel by bike and on foot, which will play a vital role in the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring capacity on public transport is there for those who really need it.

A total of 30 bikes and helmets have been delivered to three of the Combined Authority’s Bike Friendly schools since the UK went into lockdown, including Low Ash Primary School, Westbourne Primary School and Westminster C of E Primary Academy.

A further set of bikes is due to be delivered to Pudsey Bolton Royd Primary School next week.

Some of the pupils at Westminster C of E Primary have previously benefitted from the Combined Authority’s free cycle training, including sessions on learning to ride a bike for the first time and bike handling skills.

Claire Greenwood, Vice Principal at Westminster C of E Primary Academy, said: “Thanks to this loan of bikes and helmets we can help pupils who are still attending school during these uncertain times to improve their cycling skills.  

“From boosting physical activity to instilling good habits that last a life time, we know encouraging more of our pupils to cycle, walk and scoot to school when we are able to re-open will bring huge benefits.”

The Combined Authority’s Bike Friendly Schools scheme, which is run in partnership with Bradford-based BeCycling, is targeted at schools on or near to cycle routes either built or improved through the CityConnect programme. 

It provides pupils with access to a bike and free cycle training, free training for staff to plan and deliver activities and funding for bike and scooter parking.

More than 50% of pupils who go through the scheme are learning to ride for the first time.

We’re proud to be working in partnership with BeCycling to ensure more of our school children have the skills and knowledge they need to build active, healthy and pollution-free travel into their lives.

Cllr Kim Groves Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority's Transport Committee

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said: “Through our CityConnect programme, we have invested significantly to enable more people to travel by bike and on foot, which will be crucial to meeting the transport challenge created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the limited capacity on public transport. 

“We’re proud to be working in partnership with BeCycling to ensure more of our school children have the skills and knowledge they need to build active, healthy and pollution-free travel into their lives.

“Enabling people to move around our region in a safe way, which doesn’t lead to damaging levels of congestion on our roads, will be absolutely key to our economic recovery.

“By 2027, we are aiming to increase the number of trips people in our region make on bike by 300%. This will not only boost people’s health and save them money, it will also help us to achieve our aim of being a net zero carbon economy by 2038 at the latest.”

From learning to ride for the first time to making the journey to secondary school by bike, pupils from 45 schools across West Yorkshire have received support through the scheme.

More than 140 extra bike and scooter parking places have been installed at participating schools.