Children in schools across Yorkshire are taking part in the Big Pedal, from 19-30 April, to get active during their school journey. Held each year across the UK by Sustrans, the national charity that helps more people walk and cycle, this year’s challenge will see more than half a million children and young people walk, cycle, scoot and wheel to and from school.
This year’s Big Pedal is supported by Dame Sarah Storey, active travel commissioner for Sheffield City Region. According to a YouGov poll commissioned by Sustrans for the Big Pedal, almost three fifths (57%) of pupils described the environment around their school as having too many cars. The survey also found that 40% of pupils thought more people walking, cycling or scooting to school was the best way to bring down levels of air pollution near their school. Over a third (38%) thought that walking and cycling more for local journeys was the most important thing adults should be doing to tackle climate change overall.
The research showed that children are keen to get more active on their regular journeys. Seven times as many children want to cycle to school and five times as many want to scoot to school more than they currently do.
The National Cycle Network and other traffic-free paths through parks and green spaces are critical to help more families walk, cycle or scoot their journeys to school. With over 1000 miles of the network in Yorkshire alone, many people live within just a few minutes’ walk of their local section. Yorkshire has some of the most beautiful routes in the UK, including part of the 170-mile Way of the Roses, which passes through many urban areas and villages. There are also local paths, such as the Spen Valley Greenway between Dewsbury and Bradford, and York’s Solar System Way.
Dame Sarah Storey said, “I am delighted to be at the launch of Big Pedal 2021, it is fantastic the event is running this year and I know it will have huge benefits to all who take part. It isn’t just beneficial to our physical health that we use short journeys as an opportunity to be active, but it supports our mental wellbeing too.”