Cycling to school should be fun for families across Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole.
That is the reasoning behind the appointment by BCP Council of a new Bike It Plus officer.
The average primary school journey in the UK is just 1.6 miles, yet one in four cars on the road during the morning peak are doing the school run. Working in partnership with walking and cycling charity Sustrans, the council is aiming to encourage more families who live close to school to leave their cars at home.
Sustrans Bike It officer, Amanda Shorey, will be working initially with 12 local schools to promote walking, cycling and scooting. Alongside BCP Council’s Sustainable Travel Team, she will be delivering a range of activities including Bikeability cycle training, road safety and Dr Bike maintenance sessions. In addition, bike maintenance workshops provided by TechMech and funded by BCP Council, have proved incredibly successful with over 260 bikes checked and tuned up to date.
Amanda, Sustrans Bike It Officer, said: “By walking and cycling to school, children can build important activity into their daily routine. This will contribute to a healthy lifestyle, gets them in the right mood for learning and can help them get a better night’s sleep too.
“It’s also beneficial for the environment – helps to improve air quality and decreases congestion at the school gates.
A few of Amanda’s top tips, include:
- Check your bikes over regularly to make sure they are safe to use.
- Add quieter residential paths, parks and open spaces into your route for a more enjoyable ride.
- Prepare for your first ride to school by cycling the route in advance with your children without any morning rush, such as on a weekend.
- The road directly outside the school can often be the most difficult to navigate. Look carefully for the safest places to cross, which may be on foot.
- Lastly, enjoy it. Think about the fun that you can have along the way. Cycling to and from school is a great way to spend quality and enjoyable time with your children.
Cllr Mike Greene, portfolio holder for Transport and Sustainability, said: “I am pleased to welcome Amanda and see her embrace her new role so quickly. Over the last year we’ve seen more families getting out and about, enjoying their local area on foot or by bike. With Amanda’s support, we can help maintain these positive behaviours and get more young people and families, who have the option, to make sustainable travel choices.”
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