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Cycling and walking to school

Cycling to school

The biggest concern of adults when it comes to children walking and cycling to school is danger from danger.

Cycling to school helps young people to develop road safety skills and learn how to manage risk gradually. As children gain the skills they need to stay safe, they can develop independence, discovering a way of getting about themselves.

We offer cycle training through Bikeability courses to help children feel more confident.

Most schools in Dorset have cycle parking, many with covered cycle shelters, perfect for locking up your bike or scooter.

When cycling to school make sure you can all be seen. Wear fluorescent, high visibility clothing during the day and reflective material when it is dark. It is important that other path and road users can see you.

If using a shared path for cyclists and pedestrians make sure you slow down, ring your bell and say thanks when passing!

Walking to school

Walking is a great way for younger children to learn and explore the area they live in and gives time in the day to chat to parents. For older children it's a chance to catch up with friends and have a sense of independence.

By 2050 it is predicted that 70 per cent of girls and 55 per cent of boys will be overweight, but a short walk each day is easy, free and good for your health.

When walking to school make sure you can all be seen. Wear fluorescent, high visibility clothing during the day and reflective material when it is dark. It is important that other path and road users can see you.

If using a shared path for cyclists and pedestrians watch out for people on bikes. Always walk to one side and say thanks if a cyclist moves for you.

Top tips to get your child walking or cycling to school

  • plan your route together in advance, finding quieter roads and cycle paths where possible
  • practise the journey at the weekend when the roads are likely to be quieter
  • accompany your child for a few days. As they gain confidence, gradually reduce how far you go
  • encourage them to find a friend to walk or cycle with them

Did you know

  • children who walk to school are healthier, fitter, and more independent and have a greater understanding of road safety skills and arrive at school more relaxed and ready to learn

  • walking, cycling or using the bus reduces congestion on the roads and helps to reduce CO2 emissions

  • one in five of the cars in the morning rush hour is on the school run

  • consider the cost of driving your child to school. Current figures put the average cost of the school run for a year at over £400 (based on approved mileage rates from the Inland Revenue)

  • where walking, cycling or public transport are not feasible, car sharing may be an option. This can save time and money and helps to cut traffic congestion and air pollution as well as being sociable for children

Bike buying guide

Buying a new bike for a child can be a daunting experience.

  • weight is the most important thing. Can you lift it? More importantly, can your child lift it?
  • keep it simple. Just a single-speed for under 5s and rear gears only for older children
  • quality pays! More fun, less fixing, better bits, sell it for more when you are done with it
  • buy from a good local bike shop and look for brands that also make good adult bikes - avoid toy branded bikes
  • try before you buy if at all possible

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