Over two million car journeys to and from the school gates were prevented during the Big Pedal last year as children, parents and teachers across the country jumped on their bikes and scooters instead.
The annual cycling and scooting competition sees schools and class rooms across the UK competing to have the highest percentage of children, teachers and parents travelling to school by bike or scooter.
Over half a million (557,223) children took part in the Big Pedal in 2015, with 1,335 schools encouraging their pupils to cycle and scoot to school.
The competition aims to show the benefits of children travelling to school under their own steam, helping to reduce congestion at the school gates and leading to healthier journeys to school.
Headteacher Jason O’ Rourke, from from Washingborough Acaedemy in Lincolnshire, has signed the school up to the Big Pedal for a number of years and the competition has aided a major transformation in travel habits at the school.
Mr O’Rourke, said: “When I first arrived at the school there was a ramshackle, run down bike shed with about two bikes in it. I really wanted to teach the children at school the benefits of using a bike as a form of transport. I saw the Big Pedal as a great learning opportunity for the school. We already included cycling in the curriculum and the Big Pedal acted as the perfect catalyst to engage further with the whole community.”
Since working with Sustrans, Mr O’ Rourke explains that the school is unrecognisable from before. “We have cycling groups set up here in the school, we give rewards for cycling, we cycle into Lincoln on trips and any transition days that we have with local secondary schools, we bike to them. The whole thing just snowballs into a complete cycling culture within the school.”
Ben Merry, Programme Development Officer at Sustrans, said: “We know that most children fail to get their recommended hour of exercise each day. However, the average primary school journey is just 1.6 miles which is the perfect distance to scoot or cycle.
“The Big Pedal is fun, inclusive and it helps schools to encourage whole families to lead more active lives, as well as reducing car traffic and pollution around the school gates. Schools can sign up right until the competition starts on 18th April.”
The 2016 Big Pedal runs from 18-29th April. To find out more about how schools can take part visit www.sustrans.org.uk/bigpedal.
Featured image source: Via Anne and Tim on Flickr under (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)