National Cycle to School practice runs 21st August to 4th September 2021
The “Get to School on Your Own Fuel” is a women-led initiative from members of Cyclist.ie – Irish Cycling Advocacy Network who today issued a call to parents/guardians, and school communities to support their promotion which aims to help families familiarise themselves with their school routes. This year the promotion will run from Saturday 21st August to Saturday 4th September.
Campaign groups will be running a range of local events to help get children ready to cycle to school and can supply guidelines for anyone interested in organising their own event. Pupils and students of all ages are welcome to participate and ideally they will link with other families, teachers, parent associations, and local organisations to plan and test the safest cycling routes from home to school.
Everyone who participates in the #GetToSchoolOnYourOwnFuel initiative is encouraged to register for a chance to win a hamper of cycle-goodies (register at www.cyclist.ie/school). Practice runs can be held on any dates between 21st August and 4th September.
Allison Roberts, spokesperson for the Clonakilty Bicycle Festival, said
2021 is a great year to start cycling to school! The new school year will see the beginning of the Government’s Safe Routes to School programme. 170 schools supported by Green Schools Ireland, the NTA and their Local Authority will receive funding to support walking and cycling infrastructure. Following on from the government’s lead, we as local residents can help accelerate the introduction of new measures to make cycling to school as easy and as safe as possible. Even if our children cycle once or twice a week it will make a difference on our roads, in our local communities and to the perception of local authorities. Safety in numbers really does apply here, if we can get small groups together cycling to school it will be easier, safer and more enjoyable for all.
The list of 170 schools which will receive funding this year can be found here.
Speaking on behalf of Cyclist.ie, Vice-Chair, Neasa Bheilbigh said
Many parents and principals would happily bid farewell to the daily chaotic parking scenes at the school gate but are unsure of what the alternatives are. Key to getting more children to school ‘on their own fuel’ is the familiarisation of routes from home to school. Cycle Buses have been offering a supported means of getting children to school safely. Other parents may welcome support to travel with their own children or to link in with a neighbour. Cyclist.ie is urging all school communities and not just those chosen for the initial Safe Routes to School funding to investigate if cycling is an option for them.
National Cycling Coordinator with Cyclist.ie, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama expressed the hope that following two years of pandemic disruption, the 2021/2022 School Year would be a smooth running and happy experience for all.
We in Cyclist.ie also hope that the new school year will see an explosion of interest in getting to school on your own fuel. We are only too happy to support families to do this in any way we can. We urge everyone to register for the Get to School on your Own Fuel promotion and to contact their local advocacy group – see our map of groups here.
The network of campaign groups is calling on schools to apply for funding for secure bicycle parking. They are calling on all local authorities and the National Transport Authority to support and fund cycle parking for all schools. As set out in our Vision for Cycling in Ireland, cycling groups want to see all agencies and organisations support the installation of safer, segregated cycle routes, remove barriers to cycling and walking through parks and housing estates, and develop direct routes away from motorised traffic. The groups are also calling on all local authorities to implement as a matter of urgency 30 km/h speed limits in all urban areas, especially around schools.
For further information, visit https://cyclist.ie/school/.