Scotland's I Bike project, set up one year ago to encourage more children to ride to school, has seen cycling levels double.
The Sustrans-run and industry levy Bike Hub-funded scheme has raised everyday cycling levels at participating schools from 3.05 per cent to 7.05 per cent. Regular cycling levels have risen from a 10.7 per cent average to 19.3 per cent over the year.
The number of children never riding bikes to school has decreased from 73.3 per cent to 59 per cent, while the number of girls cycling outside school almost doubled from 6.9 per cent to 13.3 per cent.
Earlier this month a survey reported that one in ten children couldn't ride a bike, while one third didn't own a bike.
“We’re delighted at the results that we’ve seen from the first year of the pilot – the project has already made significant changes to how young people choose to travel and we know active and sustainable travel has a variety of positive impacts," enthused Nicola Boyle, Sustrans senior project officer for school travel.
I Bike was established in 2009 to deliver intensive pro-cycloing eductational programme to schools in Scotland. It provides particular focus on maintaining cycling levels as children move from primary to secondary school.
I Bike is running as a two year pilot in Edinburgh and Perth at 24 schools.
Boyle added: "Research suggests that children who cycle to school are more likely to be physically active than their peers, and being physically active in turn reduces the chance of children developing various health problems, including obesity and diabetes. “I Bike also promotes road safety and has seen an increase in the number of schools which take part in Bikeability Scotland training, the multi level Cycle Training. On-road training is really important to the success of the project.”
“We’re confident that the initial success we’ve seen will enable us to continue with the project when the pilot ends at the end of this year. This is one of the projects Sustrans delivers which assists the nation in moving closer to the target, of ‘10 per cent of all journeys being made by bicycle in 2020’, set in the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland.”