Encouraging children to keep healthy and active is a top priority for Edward Feild Primary School, so we were delighted to take part in National Bike to School Week from the 5th to the 9th June. Cycling is great for keeping children (and adults!) fit, it’s better for the environment - and of course, it’s more economical.
To kick-start the week, we began with a visit from the inspirational long-distance cyclist and writer Emily Chappell, who regaled pupils with stories of her solo adventures cycling across continents and venturing to the Arctic Circle on a bike at sub-zero temperatures. And, in spite of the inclement weather, we saw a huge increase in the number of children biking, scooting and walking to school, with daily reward stickers handed out at the gates, and prizes awarded for
“The most Active class” and “The Biggest Leap” – the class with the largest increase in children cycling, scooting or walking. The school also dedicated time during the week to teaching children about road safety and the importance of wearing helmets and high visibility clothing.
We would love to see this trend continuing beyond Bike to School Week: Kidlington’s flat terrain and short distances make it ideal for cycling and most commutes within the village can easily be done by bicycle. Unfortunately, we know that many parents worry that it isn’t safe to let their children to cycle to school. The current cycle lane network is piecemeal, and often overgrown or taken up by parked cars, and the roads around Kidlington’s Primary schools are very busy. As a result, too many short school runs are done by car, adding to heavy morning and afternoon traffic through the village.
The Kidlington Framework Master Plan, which was presented last year, had suggested a dedicated, separate cycle path alongside Oxford/ Banbury road. Such investments, however costly, are absolutely worth the money. Research shows that good infrastructure is the best way to get people on their bikes. It would make a big difference for Kidlington: less heavy traffic, cleaner air and last but not least: healthier and happier kids.
Artcle: by Ilze Jozepa, a parent of children at Edward Feild Primary School.
Photograph reproduced by kind permission of Edward Feild School: cyclist Emily Chappell with pupils.
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