Committee show that two wheels are better than four

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 25 January 2012

Reference: CRD 06/11/12

The Northern Ireland Committee for Regional Development has visited a primary school to see how cycling to school has become a popular choice for local children. 

The Committee which held its weekly meeting at Gilnahirk Primary School, Belfast, saw the Sustrans ‘Bike It’ project in action. This project encourages children to cycle to school and Gilnahirk Primary School is an active participant in the ‘Bike It’ project.

Speaking on behalf of the Committee, Chairperson Jimmy Spratt MLA said: “Walking and cycling have real health and environmental benefits and the ‘Bike It’ project has been very successful in supporting children and parents in becoming less dependent on cars for travel to school. 

The benefits of cycling to school are easy to see – from helping children to be physically active every day to fewer cars and less congestion on the roads. Despite these benefits, Northern Ireland has very low levels of walking and cycling compared to other regions, with two thirds of all journeys under five miles being made by car. The draft Programme for Government sets targets that by 2015 at least 36% of primary school pupils and 22% of secondary school pupils should walk or cycle to school.

The Committee was delighted to see the high levels of participation in cycling at Gilnahirk Primary School and we would encourage other schools to get involved in the ‘Bike It’ project. We hope everyone considers getting out and about by walking or cycling, especially for the short journeys.

We also want to encourage everyone to think about how walking and cycling can be promoted in Northern Ireland. The Department for Regional Development is currently consulting on active travel and people have until 9 March 2012 to give their views.”

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