Youngsters could get free bikes to ride to school

Secondary school pupils in Liverpool could be given a bike instead of a free school bus pass to get to school after a proposal was put forward to Liverpool council. Not only would this mean more health benefits for thousands of kids, but it is hoped the move would also reduce congestion at the school gates.

The idea is from the city’s former education boss Councillor Paul Clein and his wife and fellow ward councillor Jan Clein came up with the idea, aimed at Liverpool secondary school students, and it is being supported by city teenagers who are lobbying the council to back the new plan.

The idea that was first conceived by Cllr Jan Clein in 2006 but never formally submitted and Cllr Paul Clein said in the Liverpool echo that he hoped the idea would be backed and implemented by April

“It ticks so many boxes. It would help reduce congestion on the school run, increase exercise and tackle obesity.

“But the bicycles would not just be used for getting to and from school. Cycling has never been so popular after Great Britain’s heroics in the Olympics and it would be fantastic for young people to really utilise the many cycle lanes the city now has.”

Around 5,000 city children qualify for free school bus passes – for over eights they are given to those pupils who live three miles or more from school or on income grounds. The local authority is asked to consider giving eligible high school pupils the option of receiving a bike instead.

Getting youngsters onto their bikes and riding to school around the country has been tough.

Cycle campaign group the CTC warned at the start of the school term in September that more and more children were not cycling to school anymore, using cars and buss instead. The CTC say they are prevented from cycling to school because their parents would rather drive them, their school actively discourages it, and they don’t have the facilities available to store their bikes. In response to these concerns the CTC produced a Right to Ride to School leaflet.

But, in Liverpool at least, this will not be the case if the new plans are passed.