The number of children cycling to school every day has more than doubled in one year, according to the latest Hands Up survey from Sustrans.
With support from the bicycle industry levy Bike Hub, Sustrans has worked with schools to encourage children to cycle through a variety of initiatives.
The number of children regularly cycling to school (at least once a week) has increased, rising to 26.6 per cent. The number of children being driven to school every day has dropped at schools that work with Sustrans – down from 27 per cent to 24 per cent in one year – cutting congestion on roads around schools.
The figures are encouraging, particularly in view of the trend of declining numbers of children cycling to school since the ‘70s. Since then obesity levels in children have increased, and kids are spending less time outdoors.
Sustrans chief exec Malcolm Shepherd said that encouraging children to cycle and walk to school is an easy way of incorporating exercise into their daily routine, whatever the time of year.
He said: “Over the last thirty years, children’s opportunities to be active and travel independently on foot or bike have rapidly declined, so children are much less physically active, with the consequence that obesity rates among children are shockingly high.
“Simply encouraging kids to choose an active way of getting to school will get them outdoors and exercising everyday, help them be more alert and ready to learn when they get to school and lead to a nation of healthier, more independent children.
“Putting freedom back at the heart of childhood is a key part of our Free Range Kids campaign and our work in schools, which continues to lead the way as one of the UK’s most successful projects bringing about change in the travel behaviour of young people.”
Sustrans receives funding from the DfT, Bike Hub, the Big Lottery Fund's Well-being programme, the Welsh Assembly Government, TfL and various local partners and primary care trusts.
Sustran's latest campaign is Free Range Kids.