Cycling and Walking to School
Walking and cycling are not only good for our health, good for
getting around, good for public spaces and good for society, they
mean that children arrive at school better prepared to learn.
Walking and cycling both have the potential to make a positive
contribution to many key public policy priorities involving health
and urban congestion.
The number of journeys made on foot has fallen by 13% in the
last ten years.
The number of miles travelled by foot has fallen by 18% in the
In 1985 two thirds of primary school children walked to school.
Now it is less than half.
Just a few small steps
There are many things a school can do to promote walking.
The thing to remember is that it doesn't have to be the whole
journey every day of the week. A little and often by the
majority can make a huge difference.
There are a number of ways pupils (and their parents) can be
encouraged to walk to school. As part of your school travel
plan you could consider implementing some of these already
Walking buses are gaining popularity for Lower School children
to get to school. Whilst they do require commitment and dedication
they have shown to be one of the most effective ways to get parents
and pupils out of their cars and achieve a reduction in school gate
traffic & car trips.
If you are interested in setting up a walking bus the first step
is to read our walking bus pack, this can be downloaded below, or
requested from the school travel plan advisor on (01234)
This will contain all the information you require as well as
tips on how to promote the concept and get people interested.
Park and Walk Schemes
As more and more children are driven to school the issue of
parking outside the school gate is one of ever increasing concern.
This is not only a problem for the schools and local residents as
parents battle it out for a parking space but also for the police
as they are called to deal with the problem. The issue then becomes
one of road safety as the number of cars and often-erratic
behaviour of parents endangers the children themselves.
"Don't be a fool, park away from school."
Walk to School Week
Walk to School Week is run twice annually with in May and
October with a special International Day in the October week. It
gives your school a chance to participate in a national effort to
encourage walking to school and by doing this hopefully make
parents and children alike realise that it is both enjoyable and
Throughout the weeks we provide schools with promotional
materials and exciting competitions and many schools continue the
theme with weekly days such as Walk on Wednesdays.
For more information about
www.walktoschool.co.uk (new window), contact the school
travel plan team for more information.
Cycling to school
A survey of local schools showed that cycling to school was
the preferred mode of transport for many pupils.
So, should we be encouraging pupils to cycle to school?
Many feel it is simply too dangerous, young people don't
necessarily have the correct road skills or experience, there is
nowhere to store bikes and in many cases the local environment is
not cycle friendly.
Whilst these concerns are legitimate there is much we can do
through the development of a school travel plan to enable and
encourage cycling to school. This may be through seeking funds to
make the necessary changes to the environment, installing secure
cycle storage or perhaps most importantly equipping young people
with the necessary skills to make them safe, confident road
Whether as a school you allow pupils to cycle or not, it is key
that the school acts as the provider for cycle training – a skill
that has benefits far beyond the journey to and from school. All
pupils should be given the opportunity to participate in cycle
training and Bedford Borough Council Road Safety Team has a number of ways that
this can be delivered and be integrated within your school travel
Bikeability (which has replaced the old cycling proficiency
test) is available through the boroughs middle schools (as it
involves riding on the road children have to be at least 10 years
of age before they can take part) for more details see our
page (opens in a new window) you can also visit the Bikeability web
It is important that schools consider cycling within their own
local environment and are therefore encouraged to develop a cycle
policy as part of the school travel plan. In this way the right
measures will be in place to encourage safer cycling to school.
For further help and support with regard to any cycling issues
you can contact the Road Safety
Team (new window) on (01234) 228336 or the .
Other useful information can be found in the related documents
Bedfordshire Sustainable Modes of Travel to Schools Strategy
and via the following web sites.
Cycling Tourist Club| (new window)
The British Cycling
Federation| (new window)
National Bike Week| (new
Sustrans| (new window)
Road Safety Team