Responding to the condemnation of two south London parents who allowed their young children to cycle to school, Sustrans has said that children must be encouraged to use bikes everyday.
Speaking to BikeBiz, Sustran’s School Travel Director Paul Osborne added that every parent must have the right to choose how their offspring journey to school.
Osborne said: “Parents have the right to decide how their children travel to school; they know the capabilities of their children and should be allowed to act accordingly. If others are unwilling to let their children walk or cycle, our streets clearly need to be made safer."
Osborne added that cycling must be encouraged to combat problems in modern society: “The government is rightly concerned about the rise in obesity, traffic congestion, pollution and the stifled lifestyles of children; children should be encouraged to cycle to school, not prohibited.
“Half of all children want to cycle to school but just two per cent do. A third of children are now driven to school, many for journeys of less than one mile.
“Sustrans works with schools, pupils and parents to encourage children to walk and cycle, especially for journeys up to three miles, as the majority of children do in many northern European countries. To do this, all children need: safe routes to schools; to experience up to date on-road cycle and pedestrian training, and 20mph speed limits on all our residential roads. Our experience of doubling cycling in the schools that we work with shows that it is possible to encourage children to become more active, confident and independent.
“Sustrans wants every child and young person to have the knowledge, skills and confidence to establish the habit of travel by foot and bike early in life.”