With predictions that by 2050 70% of girls and 55% of boys will be overweight or obese, there has never been a more important time to cycle to school.
Yet, more people than ever are driving their children to school. A Sustrans survey showed that whilst 12% of parents were driven to school when they were children, these days 35% of children are driven to school, so what has changed?
Parents cited fears over road safety as one of the barriers to cycling to school, so initiatives like Bikeability where children learn the basics of cycling road safety are an important step in preparing youngsters for the cycle to school. Practising the route at the weekends when the roads are likely to be quieter is also good preparation.
Having the correct safety equipment and reflective clothing improves visibility and safety and having secure cycle storage in schools also helps.
Bicycles are expensive items, so schools who have safe, secure, cycle storage, see more students and teachers cycling to schools.
Children love cycling with their friends, so see if you can encourage your child to cycle to school with friends. You can go with them until they are comfortable and familiar with the route – lead by example!
Children should do 60 minutes of exercise every day, so the cycle to school could form a large part of their necessary exercise and get them to school alert and ready to learn.