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Active Travel is an initiative that encourages students and staff to travel to school using physical means. For example walking or cycling.
Our school promotes walking and cycling because…
It helps keep our students fitter and healthy and research shows being active can help students concentrate better and increase their levels of achievement.
By walking or cycling our school community can help reduce the number of vehicles on the road making it safer for pedestrians and cyclists and easier for local residents. It also reduces the pollution caused from exhaust fumes helping combat climate change and create cleaner air.
Why do we want to encourage students and staff to engage in Active Travel?
- One in four cars on the road are on the school run and greenhouse gas emissions from road transport made up around a fifth of the UK’s total GHG emissions. Greenhouse gases contribute to climate change.
- Air pollution causes 64,000 deaths annually in the UK, and a reduction of 1.5 years in average life expectancy. Air pollution affects the rates not just of respiratory diseases but also cardiovascular diseases like heart failure.
- More than a third of children are overweight (including obese) by the time they leave primary school. Child obesity strongly indicates to adult obesity – which in turn can lead to poor health outcomes including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression and premature death.
- Children and young people aged 13-16 (Years 9-11) are the least likely to be active and travel to and from school can contribute up to half of a young person’s overall physical activity.
- Just 34% of secondary school children walk to school, and only 3% cycle to school.
WHY ACTIVE TRAVEL IS IMPORTANT
- Cleaner air – reducing cars helps reduce air pollution around the school gates.
- Helps tackle climate change – by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cars.
- Students are healthier and fitter – young people should have at least an hour of physical activity every day – walking or cycling to school contributes to this time.
- Helps students unwind at the end of the day – walking or cycling home gives them time to think.
- Improves concentration – studies have shown that students who are active are ready to learn and do better in their studies.
- Gives students more independence – walking or cycling without parents helps them develop skills for independent living when they are adults.
- Reduces congestion – as there are less cars on the road, making it more pleasant environment for everyone.
- Quicker than sitting in traffic
- Improves road safety at the school gates – because there is reduced traffic and parked cars.
- It’s cheaper to walk or cycle – as it saves on fuel.
We have an Active Travel Map which details 5 and 10 minute walking and cycling zones around the school. You can use the map to help plan your journey.
PROBLEMS & SOLUTIONS
I can’t Actively Travel to school because……
I live too far away – You might be surprised to learn that it only takes approx. 15 to 20 mins to walk a mile. If you live several miles away you don’t have to walk the whole way, Park & Stride by getting dropped off 5-10 mins away from school and walking the rest, or Park & Pedal and cycle the rest of the way. Getting off a couple of stops early if you travel by public bus and walking the rest will also help you Actively Travel.
Bad weather - Don't let the weather put you off – it might seem obvious but keep an umbrella or a waterproof in your bag just in case, and a scarf and hat are a good idea when it is cold.
I am worried about my safety - If you're worried about walking alone then maybe arrange to meet a friend or walk in a group. If bullying on the school journey is an issue don't suffer in silence. Tell a member of staff at school. Everyone should feel safe to walk to school.
Too much to carry - Think about where you could possibly swap heavier folders for a USB or leave your PE kit in a locker. A decent backpack is great for carrying your things when walking or riding a bike, or you could even get yourself some panniers, or bike bags, to carry your school books on your bike.
Busy roads - might put you off, but there are lots of different roads, routes and footpaths you could use to get to school. Openstreetmap or Google maps can help you plan a safer route and pick out some quieter roads and traffic-free cycle paths instead of the main roads.
I don’t know if my bike is safe to ride - Like any machine, a bicycle will work better and last longer if you care for it properly. Get in the habit of checking your bike regularly – simple checks and maintenance can help you enjoy a smooth ride to school and avoid repairs. The M check is a simple way to make sure your bike is safe to ride. Check out this 3 minute video explaining the Sustrans M Check. (tinyurl.com/sustransmcheck).
Lack of confidence riding a bike - If you feel that you are not as confident a cyclist as you'd like to be, then check out Bikeability – a cycle training programme replacing cycling proficiency. Bikeability gives everyone the skills and confidence for all kinds of cycling.
Top 10 Tips to get you going on 2 wheels:
- Plan and practice your route, using cycle paths where they are available. This map should help you with this!
- Check your bike is safe to ride before using it (do the M Check!)
- Be safe and be seen by wearing visible clothing. School uniform is often very dark – try choosing a brighter bag.
- Get yourself some bike lights – a white one for the front and red for the back - so you can see, and be seen, when it is dark.
- Wear gloves and a lightweight raincoat during the winter to keep yourself warm.
- Mudguards are a brilliant bike addition and will help keep you dry.
- Make sure your helmet is properly fitted – it should feel snug, but not tight.
- Lock your bike securely when you’re not using it.
- Consider buddying up with a friend, for some, or all of your journey.
- Remember your Bikeability training. If you need training, ask your school for more information and check out bikeability.org.uk for more top tips.
TravelWest – Journey planning and advice on travelling around the South West.
Living Streets – Parent toolkits, activity resources and advice on walking more every day.
Sustrans – The Charity making it easier for people to walk and cycle. The work we're doing creates healthier places and happier people.
Bikeability is today’s cycle training programme replacing cycling proficiency. Bikeability gives everyone the skills and confidence for all kinds of cycling.
FREE 1:1 Adult Cycle training for all staff and parents - to book an individual lesson call 01454 863 526, or email: email@example.com
The Better By Bike website has loads of great cycling resources, covering where to buy a bike (new or second hand, from local bike shops), as well as a bike journey planner, and much more. (betterbybike.info).
How to correctly fit a bike helmet: - https://www.sustrans.org.uk/media/7781/btsw-resources_helmetcheck_eng.pdf
Cycle route planning
There are lots of great resources for planning your cycling journeys whether that’s advice on quiet roads for your school commute, or leisure rides that will be a fun weekend family activity. Here is a selection of some:
‘Komoot’ route planner & tracker - You can use Komoot on your computer or download it as a phone app. You can record your journeys on Komoot to learn from favourite rides and log all your amazing pedal miles! (https://www.komoot.com/plan)
These downloadable maps detail on-road and traffic-free cycleways across South Gloucestershire. They’re good for getting a general sense of the cycle options in your neighbourhood without planning a specific route. (https://betterbybike.info/maps-and-guides/regional-cycle-maps/#south-gloucestershire)
Leisure Rides in South Gloucestershire. (https://betterbybike.info/maps-and-guides/guides-booklets/)