BISHOPBRIGGS is the first town in Scotland where all seven primary schools have achieved Cycling Scotland’s Cycle Friendly Award; and more than doubling the number of children cycling to primary schools in the area, in just one year.
With the support of East Dunbartonshire’s Cycle Co-operative, each of the schools has made the grade.
Today (Thursday 19 May), the seventh primary school in Bishopbriggs, Auchinairy Primary, received its Cycling Scotland Cycle Friendly School Award, to make Bishopbriggs the first town in Scotland to have all primary schools accredited.
Cycling Scotland’s Cycle Friendly School is a nationally recognised award for all Primary Schools in Scotland who are committed to increasing the number of children cycling to school.
The aim is to encourage cycling as part of a whole school culture of cycling to benefit both children’s health and their environment and can contribute to Health Promoting School and Eco-School initiatives.
Ian Aitken, chief executive at Cycling Scotland, said “We would like to congratulate Bishopbriggs on becoming the first town in Scotland to have all primary schools achieve Cycle Friendly School Award status.
“It’s fantastic that every child in Bishopbriggs now has the right facilities, infrastructure and training available at school to make cycling an easy and practical choice.
“New travel statistics published this week show that the number of primary age children cycling to school in Bishopbriggs has jumped from around three per cent to over seven per cent in the last year, which shows that the award plays an important role in getting more children cycling.”
Says a spokesperson: “Less than one year ago (June 2010) the Scottish Government launched their Cycling Action Plan for Scotland, which sets out a range of measures on route to achieving the ten per cent of journeys by bike by 2020.
“Bishopbriggs has almost made the grade, with respect to primary pupils, a decade in advance.
“In last year’s Sustrans Hands Up survey, that monitors pupil’s mode of transport to school, Bishopbriggs revealed that over seven per cent of pupils choose to ride to school, where the Scottish national average is currently three per cent. In fact, St. Matthew’s Primary School was as high at 19 per cent.”
Councillor Una Walker, convener of East Dunbartonshire’s Education Committee, said “This really is good news for the pupils and the staff at our schools.
“By encouraging active travel, in this case cycling, we are helping pupils achieve their recommended daily exercise of one hour a day.
“We know from research that exercise on the journey to school, makes children more alert, and able to focus on their learning when in class”.
There are a great range of active and committed staff, parents, volunteers and partners working towards promoting cycling in schools throughout Scotland.
No more so than East Dunbartonshire’s Cycle Co-operative (ED’s Cycle Co-op), a community based, not for profit, social enterprise that promotes cycling in the area.
ED’s Cycle Co-op have been the driving force in promoting cycling to primary school children and their families in the area and getting Bishopbriggs’ primary schools signed up for the Cycling Scotland Cycle Friendly School Award scheme.
ED’s Cycle Co-op has a range of cycling programmes that span from three to 83, and almost everything in between.
There are nursery, primary and secondary projects with events every month to keep the interest growing in the community.
On the 28 May, to celebrate all seven schools now officially Cycle Friendly, they are organising a mass cycle procession through the main street, with each school dressing their staff, pupils, parents and their bikes in a single colour of the rainbow.
When the seven schools come together they will from the ‘Rainbow Ride’. The Rainbow Ride is being organised in association with the Bishopbriggs Gala Day and the Thomas Muir Festival.
They are also in the midst of planning another cycle festival on Sunday 19 June.
This will feature The Clan, the UK’s leading cycle stunt team, a giant inflatable stunt air bag and an elevated board walk as well as series of races for all ages of children.
With over 1,000 participants last year and an improved 2011 event programme it is sure to be another great success.
Anne McNair, co-director of ED’s Cycle Co-op, said: “This national first has been achieved through a partnership approach with East Dunbartonshire Education Services and lead by ED’s Cycle Co-op which continues to support all the school head teachers, staff, parents and pupils, develop their knowledge, skills and confidence on a bike.”
Adds the spokesperson: “Transform Scotland, a sustainable transport, non-governmental organisation research the cycling levels in Europe.
“Recent findings revealed a potential saving of between £2bn and £4bn to the National Health Service in Scotland, if we can achieve around 27 per cent of journeys by bike, similar levels to Europe. Clearly, Bishopbriggs is well on the way to achieving this landmark.”
Paddy Cuthbert – Podge Publicity – T@7968 699636 / E: firstname.lastname@example.org
ED’s Cycle Co-op – Mark Kiehlmann, 07866 423391, email@example.com
Notes to editors:
Cycling Scotland is the Scottish Government agency who promotes cycling in Scotland and accredits the Cycle Friendly School Award.
Cycling Action Plan for Scotland was launched in June 2009 by the then Scottish Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson MP.
Transform Scotland, Towards a Healthier Economy.
East Dunbartonshire Cycle Co-operative
ED’s Cycle Co-op, grant funded by Climate Challenge Fund, Cycling Scotland and Sustrans, has had outstanding impact revealed in the local figures of the Sustrans Hands Up Survey data, conducted in September 2010:
* Nearly a five per cent point modal shift in cycling to primary schools in just in one year;
* Over seven per cent of pupils cycling to primary school across seven primaries in Bishopbriggs, more than double the Scottish National average in 2009 (three per cent);
And one, St Matthew’s Primary School, at almost 20 per cent, double the Scottish Government target of ten per cent journeys by bike by 2020, ten years ahead of schedule.
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