The Big Pedal is back – the annual schools competition to get the greatest proportion of pupils scooting or cycling to school.
Running between Monday 18 April and Friday 29 April, any schools where more than 15% of school pupils scoot or cycle will be entered into daily prize draws for rewards including bike and scooter stunt shows, equipment and storage. 15% is roughly equivalent to 5 pupils in a class of 30.
Most schools in Gosforth will be taking part, and at SPACE for Gosforth we will be tracking the results to see which of the Gosforth schools do best.
Why is Active Travel so important?
In our post Billion Pound Issues on Gosforth High Street we referenced a report by Turning the Tide of Inactivity by UK Active that said a quarter of Newcastle residents are classed as inactive – doing less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. The consequence of this inactivity is reported to be 279 premature deaths and a cost of £16.8m each year for Newcastle alone – far more than the similar figures for either road traffic accidents or deaths due to poor air quality.
Separately, Public Health England estimate that 38% of Year 6 children in Newcastle are overweight or obese.
Children do say they want to cycle … understandably parents aren’t always so keen.
This survey commissioned as part of Newcastle’s Draft Sustainable Modes of Travel Strategy from 2009 shows just how many school pupils, especially those of Primary School age, want to cycle to school compared to those that actually do.
Many people now just take for granted that the roads are too dangerous for children and in many cases for adults as well, but it need not be this way. Likewise, discussions on transport often centre around how the roads are used now, rather than what we want to see for the future.
At SPACE for Gosforth we think this needs to change. With your help, Gosforth’s streets can be made safe, at least for older children to walk or cycle to school, to the shops or to the park, or even just to play outside their own homes.
So please consider trying the Big Pedal, whether on a scooter or a bicycle. If you do take part, did you find a route you liked? Will you keep scooting or cycling once the big pedal has finished? If you decided against, please do tell us why? Most importantly, what could be changed to make Gosforth’s streets safer for our children?
You may wish to look at the SPACE for Gosforth post “Lots of children want to cycle to school, but hardly any do.”, which listed the types of cycling routes that parents felt were safe for their children to use.