Big Pedal kids save their parents £475,264 in fuel costs

Children from across the UK have saved their parents £475,264 in fuel costs in just three weeks by cycling and scooting a 3,669,907 miles to and from school.

The journeys were made as part of The Big Pedal – the UK’s biggest inter-school cycling and scooting competition run by Sustrans.

This year 557,223 pupils registered to take part in the competition and together pupils, parents and teachers cycled and scooted nearly one and a half million journeys to school and back.

The Big Pedal is funded by the Bicycle Association on behalf of the cycle industry through its Bike Hub scheme and shows how choosing two wheels instead of four for the school run can help families save cash while getting fit. Statistics released by Sustrans to mark the end of the event revealed that the competition saved over two million car journeys from being made and prevented over 1,000 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted.

Gary Shipp, Sustrans National Projects Coordinator for Education and Young People, said:

“The rising cost of living in the UK means that parents across the country are looking for ways to cut back on costs, and the school run is the perfect place to start.

“Research by Sustrans has previously suggested that by switching from driving to cycling or scooting to school, parents could save on average £642 a year.

“The popularity of The Big Pedal shows that when families live near to school it is possible change the way they get there.

“But cycling and scooting to school doesn’t just have financial benefit; children that regularly cycle to school are fitter, more alert and better learners too.”

The Big Pedal inspires half a million heart-pumping school journeys

The Big Pedal has seen pupils make more than half a million journeys by bike and scooter in just seven days.

Pupils across the UK have made 510,878 active journeys to school as part of The Big Pedal. This is an inter-school competition which encourages children to be more active; this year over 1,700 schools and over 555,400 pupils across the country are taking part in the event, which runs until 20th March.

Run by charity Sustrans and funded by the Bicycle Association on behalf of the cycle industry through its Bike Hub scheme, The Big Pedal is the UK’s largest cycling – and scooting – competition.

Registration for the competition is now closed but there is still time for secondary and primary schools to take part in a three day version of competition.

Gary Shipp, National Projects Co-ordinator at Sustrans said:

“The Big Pedal is fun, inclusive and it helps schools to encourage whole families to lead more active lives, as well as reducing car traffic and pollution around the school gates.

“Although the competition runs for a short period of time, it can have a lasting effect on the way that the school community travel to school; last year 76% of schools who took part in the Big Pedal said that pupils continued to cycle and scoot to school following the event.”

Economic report says increasing cycle use would generate £248bn

An economic report produced by academics from Leeds University has found that increasing cycle use in England would pay for itself many times over. Commissed by the CTC, the report makes a strong economic case for investing in cycling.

“The Economic Cycle – Quantifying the benefits of getting England Cycling” found that getting more people to use cycles for transportation would generate £248bn in economic benefits by 2050. The report was written by Fiona Crawford of the Institute of Transport Studies at Leeds University and the geography department’s Dr Robin Lovelace.

The academics were tasked with quantifying the benefits of cycling if the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s “Get Britain Cycling” report were met, in comparison with the targets set in the Government’s draft “Cycling Delivery Plan”. The Get Britain Cycling report recommended an increase of cycle use from less than 2 per cent of all journeys to 10 per cent by 2025 and 25 per cent by 2050. (This is in comparison to the CDP which merely proposes a doubling of journeys by 2025.)

The report found that meeting the parliamentary Get Britain Cycling report’s targets would yield annual benefits in 2050 worth £42bn in today’s money. The cumulative benefits would be worth £248bn between 2015 and 2050 even taking account of the fact that long term benefits are worth less than those achieved in the shorter term.

By contrast, the Government’s Cycling Delivery Plan would only generate annual benefits of £6.4bn in 2050, and ’discounted’ cumulative benefits of £46.4bn. These economic benefits are generated chiefly through increased physical fitness in the population, but also reduced congestion and absenteeism, improved air quality and other areas.

CTC chief executive Paul Tuohy said:

“Every day it seems a new report is issued that states the UK through an increasing sedentary existence is eating its way into an obesity epidemic that will break the NHS and cost billions to the economy.

“The Economic Cycle report proves conclusively that cycling can make a real difference to waist-lines and the economy – £248bn worth of difference. However this can only be achieved if ambitious targets to encourage cycle growth are set and there is a proper long term funding strategy in place.

“CTC has joined its cycling and walking coalition partners to call on MPs to support Dr Julian Huppert MP’s amendment to the Infrastructure Bill which would create a legally binding Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. Such a strategy will make the possibility of cycling’s massive return on investment less of a dream and increasingly a reality.”

London’s “quietways” to be created for TfL by Sustrans

Transport for London has awarded Sustrans a multi-million pound delivery contract to create the rollout of the “quiet ways” network across London. Quietways will give cyclists pleasant, back-street alternatives to busy main roads, with the first opening in May next year.

Construction is about to start on the first two routes, which will run from central London to Greenwich and Hackney, with a later extension to Walthamstow. Five more routes are at the design stage and more than twenty will be delivered, or in progress, by 2016.

Sustrans has been awarded a three year contract by TfL to help deliver the £120 million network. The work will be carried out in partnership with the local boroughs and other partners whose roads they will use. Every London borough will be served by the Quietways.

The charity will be working with four partners to deliver the contract – innovators in Dutch cycle design, Royal Haskoning; specialists in urban design and cycle design best practice in the UK, Phil Jones Associates; leaders in inclusive cycling, Wheels for Wellbeing; and road safety experts, Local Transport Projects.

London Mayor, Boris Johnson, said:

“If you would love to hop on a bike but feel intimidated by busier roads, these Quietway routes will be perfect, connecting parks, backstreets and waterways to create secret passages through London. They will get you where you need to go on a route you might not have known existed until we showed you. They will make cycling much more accessible for ordinary people, in their ordinary clothes, revealing some of London’s hidden gems along the way.”

Unlike the old London Cycle Network, Quietways will be direct and clearly signed, mostly on the road itself. Because they are on lower-traffic roads, they will be largely unsegregated. The main interventions on the vast majority of the network will be waymarking, surfacing improvements where necessary, removing barriers such as chicanes and improving the flow of the route.

However, where directness demands the Quietway briefly join a main road, full segregation and direct crossing points will be provided, “wherever possible”, said Sustrans, adding Quietways will be particularly suited to new cyclists.

Work on the first route, which will run from Waterloo to Greenwich, is about to start, creating a predominantly backstreet cycling route through Borough, Bermondsey and Deptford. Junctions at major roads will be redesigned to help cyclists and a brand new cycle path created. This will follow the railway line from South Bermondsey station to Surrey Canal Road to the north of Millwall football club (subject to final planning permissions).

Work to deliver the second route, from Bloomsbury to Hackney, will begin early next year and see a direct route created through local parks.

Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said:

“Cycling is becoming more and more common place in our city, and we know many others would like to do so. The network of Quietways we will be introducing will open more options up for new and infrequent cyclists to take to the streets using less busy roads. This will further help shift more journeys away from cars, particularly in the outer boroughs.”

Thursday is Cycle To Work Day

The second national Cycle to Work Day is on Thursday and top employers from across the UK are getting on board and offering their support for the campaign, which aims to demonstrate the benefits of encouraging cycling in to and from the workplace. 

Employers large and small are showing how important cycling is to them by organising events and activities to celebrate the day. There’s everything from Britain’s Biggest Bike Breakfast – is your employer providing a coffee and a croissant for cycling to work? – to led rides, Dr. Bike sessions and competitions for staff to win cycling prizes.

Last year’s event saw tens of thousands of commuters pledged to cycle a quarter of a million miles. This year, the event is set to be even bigger. 

Amey one of the UK’s leading public and regulated services providers is supporting Cycle to Work Day by encouraging staff nationwide to take “selfies” with a message of why they are taking part. The company has also recently launched its annual cycle to work scheme where employees can purchase a bike tax free. 

Gary Carvell group HSEQ director at Amey explains the reasons for getting behind the campaign: 

“The health and wellbeing of our employees is extremely important to us. We have a strong cycling community at Amey and supporting Cycle to Work Day is a great way to further raise awareness of cycling, the associated benefits and encourage more people to take part. 

“Cycling to work is not only a healthier option and helps maintain fitness, but helps to contribute to the reduction of our carbon footprint.” 

Chelmsford City Council is a big supporter of the day as Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, Councilor Nicolette Chambers explains: 

“Chelmsford City Council fully supports Cycle to Work Day. This event is designed to help people make informed choices about the modes of transport that they use. People’s choice of transport within urban areas has a significant impact on both the climate, the quality of the air that we breathe, as well as the individual’s health and finances.” 

And the University of Cambridge, which employs over 9,000 people, is keen to utilise the campaign as a way of raising awareness of active travel amongst their colleagues. Environmental Co-ordinator, Catrin Darsley said: 

“Cambridge has a fantastic cycling culture already, but there’s always more that we can do to raise awareness of active travel as a viable option for our staff. We’re taking part in Cycle to Work Day to encourage people to give cycling a go, and will be running a safe cycling event alongside taking part in Britain’s Biggest Bike Breakfast. The University of Cambridge has over 9000 staff, with 40 percent commuting by bike from across Cambridgeshire.”