How to encourage cycling to school

Posted on | Posted in Education

A recent UK-wide YouGov survey recently found that only 2% of students cycle to school – but many more would like to.

The survey of 2,305 people aged 6-15 sought to find out more about children’s journeys to and from school, and the results were pretty surprising. While only 2% of children currently cycle to and from school, 14% said they would like to.

So, how can schools do their part to help make it easier, and why is cycling such a great thing to encourage amongst young people?

What are the benefits of cycling to school?

There are tonnes of great health benefits to cycling, particularly among young people. Bike riding encourages children to spend more time outside, something that’s proven to be great for their development. In addition:

  • Cycling burns calories so helps with weight management. It’s a really simple way to encourage low-impact exercise and promote a healthy lifestyle in children and teenagers.
  • Cycling boosts brainpower. Physical fitness and brain health are intrinsically linked, and the increased blood flow that exercise brings leads to better health overall.
  • Cycling can work wonders for mental health, reducing anxiety and depression.
  • Cycling also helps improve lung health, balance and coordination, and blood pressure.

Health benefits aside, cycling also saves time compared to walking to work. And, cycling as an alternative to being driven to school by parents is also much kinder to the environment, saves on fuel costs and helps to reduce congestion on the roads.

What can schools do?

With all the great health and environmental benefits cycling offers, it’s a no brainer that we should be encouraging more kids to cycle to school. But how can schools help encourage it? There’s no failsafe solution, but there are certainly a few things you can do.

  • Promote the benefits
    Teachers can help ensure kids are clued about how great cycling is for them, introducing cycling to school as a fun and healthy thing they can take up. Even taking up cycling for one or two days a week has increased environmental and health benefits.
  • Get parents involved
    Children not yet old enough to travel alone will need their parent’s support if they want to cycle to school. Make sure parents know about the benefits of cycling for both them and their children – you could encourage children to talk to their parents or outline the benefits in a newsletter or email.
  • Offer cycle training
    You could get involved with an organisation like Bikeability, which offers national cycle training to ensure children can safely and confidently ride a bike. Many schools can receive funding for the training from the Department for Transport.
  • Ensure you have bicycle storage
    If you’re encouraging children to cycle to school, you need to make sure there’s somewhere safe and secure for them to leave their bikes once they’ve arrived. Our school and playground canopies can be used for a whole host of reasons, including covering bicycle storage areas. They’re great for making sure children’s bikes are protected from the elements while they’re learning.

We hope this taught you more about why children should ride to school, and how you can begin encouraging children to cycle. Find out more about education canopies or contact us on 01254 777 002 or