Responding to concerns about speeding traffic, volunteers initiated a biking school bus at Huband Park Elementary last week during Bike to School Week.
“Basically everybody on their bike is riding from their homes together across Huband Road and then to the school,” SD71 sustainability co-ordinator Angela Holmes said. “It’s been a big success.”
Bike to School Week coincided with Bike to Work Week, aimed at getting commuters out of their cars and onto two wheels.
Holmes implemented a Student Travel Planning process that built on last year’s pilot project that was designed to increase the safety of students who were actively travelling to school. Participating schools were Huband Park, École Puntledge Park and École Robb Road. Valley View Elementary, Cumberland Community School and Miracle Beach Elementary came on board this year.
A survey gathered data to determine how families travel to school, and to identify barriers such as traffic congestion, speed and lack of crosswalks. Convenience is among the top reasons people drive their children to school.
Seventy per cent of respondents at Valley View live within 1.6 kilometres yet more than half drive to school each day.
The Cycling BC iRide program teamed with the Comox Valley Cycling Coalition to bring bike handling and road safety skills to Valley View students.
“iRide has really raised the active travel to school – and I hope it continues,” principal Erica Black said.
Active transportation – walking, biking, inline skating, scootering and skateboarding — presents an opportunity to improve health among children. According to Active Healthy Kids Canada, if school children walked each trip of less than one kilometre, they would take an average of 2,238 additional steps per day.
This translates into 15–20 minutes of walking, which would contribute to the hour of daily physical activity children need for overall health.
“So if parents are saying convenience as the main reason they don’t actively commute, Bike to School and Work Week is a chance for them to conveniently commute and be healthy together,” Holmes said.