With days becoming shorter and nights drawing in, the temptation to jump into the car to do the school run becomes harder to resist.
As a fledgling Bike-It School Billingshurst Primary School has been campaigning for over a year to encourage pupils and parents to participate in a culture of active travel to and from school and with winter fast approaching there is no exception. The school’s Bike-It Crew have been stepping up their efforts with a focus on staying safe during the darker days.
Following a year of involvement in this national initiative, Billingshurst Primary School has seen an increase of 30% of pupils regularly cycling, walking or scooting to school. To celebrate the success of the program the school held its third Bike-It Breakfast on 7th November 2014, which provided Philip Burroughs Bike-It Officer, Chichester and Horsham, Sustrans South-East* with a valuable opportunity to offer a few simple guidelines for staying safe in the winter months whilst still staying active.
Philip Burroughs comments:“There are a few simple steps to staying safe this time of year:
l Dress warmly and appropriately for the weather
l It is important to wear bright colours with as much reflective gear as possible to make sure you are seen
l It is the law to have lights on your bike if it is dark outside
l Parents must make sure their children are confident riders
l Conduct regular bike checks
l For older children on bikes; make sure you are aware and know the rules of the road. Know what is going on around you, anticipate, make sure you communicate your intentions clearly to other road users so as not to surprise them
l Again for older children, it is always safer and more fun to cycle in sensible groups
l Watch out for black ice.
“By being aware of the changing conditions and taking appropriate measures to ensure you’ll be seen, you can continue to enjoy a more active approach to travel. There is nothing like waking up early and cycling on a clear brisk morning.”
Following this advice, over 150 pupils, parents and siblings arrived early for the Bike-It Breakfast and were treated to a feast thanks to Kavanagh’s Budgens, Billingshurst High Street; a keen supporter of the initiative from the start. Pupils enjoyed a spread of cereals, fruit, muffins and pancakes before the school day.
The Bike-It program continues to develop and grow within the school, with a number of events taking place over the past few months to encourage and support the pupils, including assemblies on safety and workshops on how to check your bike is safe to ride.
Report and pictures contributed by Kate Clifford on behalf of the BPSCA and Philip Burroughs, Bike it.