Welsh government to spend £5 million improving children's routes to school

From next year pupils will be involved in bidding for funding for their own cycle routes to school

by Sarah Barth   April 5, 2014  

Kids riding to school (CC licenced by EdinburghCycleChic)

The Welsh government is to spend £5m of new money on safe cycle routes for pupils cycling to school.

The fund will be spent on 30 new project with the aim of making children more active, and as stakeholders in the programme, all local authorities will have to involve pupils in their funding bids from next year.

Transport Minister Edwina Hart told Wales Online: “It’s very important children’s views are taken into account because what we don’t find scary, they might find scary.

“They might not want to walk down a dimly-lit path at dusk. We really want to encapsulate the concerns of the children,.”

Nineteen councils have been apportioned a share of the funding, which can be used for cycle paths and footpaths, secure cycle facilities and for lighting, crossings and traffic-calming measures.

One participating school reported how the paths had improved punctuality, with one pupil from just over two miles away saying it now takes him five minutes to cycle in, but half an hour to travel in by bus.

“If children get into good habits with their bicycles when they are young, perhaps they will carry that on when they get a job when they are older,” said Mrs Hart.

A full list of where all the money will be spent can be found here.


Since 2008 the Safe Routes in Communities programme in Wales has provided around £42 million to communities and schools. It forms part of the Walking and Cycling Action Plan for Wales which aims to triple the percentage of children cycling to school in Wales from 1-2 per cent to 3-6 per cent depending on age.

78 per cent of primary school children live less than three miles from a school, considered a reasonable distance to travel by bike.

10 user comments

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Nice pic to illustrate cycle safety - the "dad" looks like he is on the phone and has a Sainsbury's bag dangling from his bars - but worse than that, he isn't wearing a helmet!

posted by Ants [23 posts]
5th April 2014 - 10:36

7 Likes

Ants wrote:
Nice pic to illustrate cycle safety - the "dad" looks like he is on the phone and has a Sainsbury's bag dangling from his bars - but worse than that, he isn't wearing a helmet!

And yet in the right environment is perfectly safe. Create the environment for safe cycling for kids and it's as safe as walking, where carrying a bag and being on the phone is commonplace and very rarely the cause of injury or fear.

Well done Wales.

posted by teaboy [183 posts]
5th April 2014 - 10:46

20 Likes

you are of course being ironic aren't you?

Absolutely nothing unsafe about the activity in the photo.

posted by gazza_d [238 posts]
5th April 2014 - 12:10

11 Likes

Yes I was, of course. I really hope the schemes work to encourage more kids and parents to cycle to school. I live in a smallish village where the school is within walking distance for most people but still parents drive and park outside. Convincing these people that cycling is an option or at least removing their objections of it being too dangerous is a start.

posted by Ants [23 posts]
5th April 2014 - 12:39

21 Likes

Who's to say the bloke is the dad? The photographer may be the dad. Apart from that. Nothing wrong with the pic. The youngsters are cycling in a safe environment. And the bloke is demonstrating how normal cycling can be. Regular clothing and a regular bike. Not kitted up on a carbon speed machine.

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1059 posts]
5th April 2014 - 12:44

19 Likes

Screw the pic, it's got nothing to do with anything important!

Go Wales! (★^O^★)

posted by Quince [164 posts]
5th April 2014 - 13:39

18 Likes

What a great idea! Kids that get this level of involvement in planning for safe, sustainable, active travel will grow up to be adults with a better understanding of safe, sustainable, active travel. To everyone's benefit.

posted by Bhachgen [94 posts]
5th April 2014 - 15:30

19 Likes

The picture at the top of the original article curiously shows a street sign which says no cycling.

“If children get into good habits with their bicycles when they are young, perhaps they will carry that on when they get a job when they are older,”

Massive chapeau to the Welsh govt, wish the English lot could be a bit more useful.

posted by horizontal dropout [155 posts]
5th April 2014 - 16:51

13 Likes

This is this good news, BUT. Is it £5m of new funding, or £5m of 'new' funding from elsewhere in cycling budgets? Reading through the 20 various schemes that our County Councils have identified -how much consultation was there with what cyclists of all ages would like. Nearly half plan to use their allocation for traffic calming and introduction of 20 mph zones.
This appears to be misuse of the idea of creating cyclepaths.

It is traffic that that has created this problem, not cycling. Why should we loose some of this funding to request drivers go slower. These features should be coming from the Roads and Highways budget. The £5m should be spent entirely on improving and creating more cyclepaths.

posted by mike1949 [1 posts]
5th April 2014 - 17:28

19 Likes

What is encouraging is that Edwina Hart is taking the initiative here. When the Active Travel Act was bounced from Transport to Culture and Sport I thought all was lost.

posted by shockleader [20 posts]
7th April 2014 - 8:45

7 Likes