Pupils also have bicycle PE lessons

A school in East Lancashire that used to discourage cycling has unveiled plans for a cycle lane outside the building. St Christopher’s CE High School, in Accrington, has also started cycling proficiency tests and PE lessons where pupils are taught how to ride bikes as it tries to encourage pupils to cycle to school.

The move comes as part of the Queen’s Road West school’s plans to be more eco-friendly, and is something of a U-turn for the school as it used to discourage cycling due to safety fears.

Headteacher Alasdair Coates said in The Citizen: “We have been actively discouraging cycling. The roads surrounding the school are dangerous. The speed limit is 30mph, but has an average speed of 40mph. There are a couple of children who do cycle, but it is really dangerous.

“We have contributed to the cycle lane and we must train our youngsters to be safe. We must also encourage them to be healthy, as well being able to get from A to B safely.

The cycle lane will be created as part of borough council plans linking up with the Leeds Liverpool Canal.  The school has invested £20,000 in the cycle route and has bought 15 bikes and the school would consider buying more bikes, if funds could be raised, to launch a pooled system for its pupils.

Plans are also in place to set up cycle meeting points for pupils who want to cycle to school, with staff leading travel routes.

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 last that more and more children were not cycling to school anymore, using cars and buss instead.

The CTC said 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.