Swapping the car for cycling on the school run could save families £160 year – and Cycle to School Week saved £20,000 of fuel in 2021.
Schools and families across the UK are being invited to take part in the Cycle to School Week, running from 3 to 7 October 2022. Activity across the country will encourage the nation’s children to use pedal power to get to school.
Organised by The Bikeability Trust, in partnership with Sustrans, Cycle to School Week returns to encourage families and schools to celebrate cycling. Participants can choose between pledging to swap one car journey for cycling, cycle to school every day, cycle with their family or discover somewhere new on a cycle ride.
You can make your pledge on the Bikeability website and all participants will be entered into a prize draw to win a brand new Frog City 61 Bike. Schools are also encouraged to encourage their pupils to take part in the week, using presentations, activities and lesson plans created by the Bikeability Trust and Sustrans. The resources will be available throughout the year, allowing schools to continue the conversation around active travel beyond Cycle to School Week.
On average, according to Cycling UK1, just 2.2% of children cycle to school and a whopping 35.4% are driven to school. The average journey to school is just 2.4 miles.
As the cost of living crisis continues to impact families, swapping the car for a cycle is a cost-effective way to support household budgets. In total, the journeys to school pledged during Bike to School Week in 2021 saved over £20,000 of fuel2. This year, the savings could be even greater. Families who swap their daily school run in the car for pedal power could save almost £160 a year3.
Pedal power saves the planet too. If just one child cycled to school instead of travelling in the car for a year, it would save almost half a tonne in carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to growing eight trees for a decade or charging 58,388 mobile phones.4 Cycling to school reduces congestion, improves air quality and makes neighbourhoods quieter and more pleasant places to live.
Children are ready to cycle to school independently once they’ve completed their Bikeability Level 2, which teaches them the skills they need to cycle confidently and safely on the roads. Children in Year 5 and Year 6 who have taken part in Bikeability should be able to cycle to school by themselves or with friends.
Emily Cherry, CEO at The Bikeability Trust, said: “I am so proud that the Bikeability Trust is taking the lead on Cycle to School Week, in partnership with our friends at Sustrans. It’s so important that children are active and a cycling commute is great for the health – and purses! – of the whole family, as well as our planet. We have already trained over four million children to cycle, and we are excited to celebrate the joys of cycling across the UK in October.
“By working with schools and families to encourage a more active school run, we’re now embedding healthy habits in the next generation. I will be pledging to discover a new cycle ride with my family this Cycle to School Week, what will yours be?”
Xavier Brice, CEO at walking and cycling charity Sustrans, said: “Sustrans works across the UK to ensure everyone is able to access safe routes, so we know that to get more people, of all generations, to travel actively, we must make it easy and enjoyable to walk, wheel and cycle. This means designing the places where we live and learn around people, to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions around schools and to help children build relationships with their environment and their community.
“We are delighted to partner with the Bikeability Trust for Cycle to School Week which is a fantastic way to encourage pupils and families to travel actively together, inspiring the crucial change in how we travel that benefits us all.”
Chris Boardman, National Active Travel Commissioner, “Active Travel England’s mission is to ensure everyone can travel actively, every day if they choose. It’s particularly important that we ensure young people have the choice to get around in ways that save them money, are healthy and – crucially – are sustainable.
“We really welcome Cycle to School Week. It’s an opportunity for everyone to try travelling a bit differently, to remember how nice it is to get around under your own steam. Imagine if, like our European neighbours, this was a daily habit for the school run. This year’s Cycle to School Week is a chance to give it a go.”