Figures from data taken in 1996/97 showed that cycling to school was at an all time low with less than 2% of pupils aged 11-16 compared to more than 6% 10 years previously. Yet cycling offers the perfect solution to a number of modern day issues that are cause for concern. The average length of a cycle journey to school in 1997/99 was 1.2 miles and the average time taken for the journey was 14 minutes.
With continuing congestion and rising pollution from vehicles on our roads and with rising concern over the sedentary lifestyles of our children and resulting increase in obesity, cycling to school provides a perfect solution. Cycling offers many benefits, providing the ideal opportunity to involve pupils in more activity and instil the habit of cycling into their lifestyle that they can take with them to adulthood. Schools that encourage cycling reinforce the message that health and activity is a priority for the school and research is beginning to suggest that children who are more physically active perform better in school. Cycling certainly makes children more alert and ready to face the school day than if they have been sitting in a car.
Half an hour of physical activity a day - such as walking or cycling to school - makes a real difference to keeping fit and healthy. 29% of boys and 43% of girls under 16 have less than 30 minutes of physical activity on most days (the daily minimum level of activity as recommended by the Health Education Authority)