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Personal Injury

Safety tips when cycling to school

Cycling provides many benefits. Not only is it free and greener for the planet, it also keeps us fit and healthy both physically and mentally.

25 October 2021

Cycling to and from school can be beneficial for children as its a great way to get them active and healthy. However, with the clocks about to go back next weekend, some children will be cycling to and from school in the dark, so it's even more important to ensure they know how to stay safe.

How many children cycle to school?

Cycling UK have compiled data of the proportion of children who cycled to school from 1995 to 2019 and found that in 2019, around 1.4% of 5-10 year-olds, and 2.7% of 11-16 year-olds cycled to and from school and for all 5-16 year-olds, just 2% cycled to and from school. This figure has changed very little since 1995/97. In Scotland, according to a 'hands-up survey', 5.7% of children indicated that they normally cycle to primary school, while 1.4% said they cycle to secondary school and 3.9% to nursery school. Altogether, (excluding nurseries), 4.1% rode between their schools and home.

Teaching children road safety

It’s never too early to start teaching children about road safety, not just when cycling or walking to school, but also when playing outside with friends and riding bikes or scooters.

Road Safety Scotland state that young people aged between 11 and 14 are statistically the most at risk age group on Scotland’s roads. They have a range of helpful guides for parents with children of varying ages from young children right through to teenagers.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) also have a helpful guide for parents on teaching road safety to children from toddler age right through to teenagers.

Safety tips when cycling to school

There are things you should be mindful of to ensure your child's safety when cycling to and from school, particularly on dark mornings and dark nights. For example, to increase your child’s awareness of cycling safely, it might be beneficial to look at cycling courses in your area which provide lessons in cycle safety and help to find the safest cycle route to and from school.

Bikeability is a cycle safety course provider which is part of the Department for Transport and offers training programmes to families and schools. They educate people of all levels on the practical skills needed to cycle on today’s roads.

Here are some helpful safety tips for children cycling to school during the winter months:

Be visible: They can maximise visibility by wearing reflective clothing and having a front and rear light on their bike. Being visible to other vehicles on the road is extremely important, particularly during the winter months when visibility can be poor.

Stay alert: It's important to stay alert and not be distracted. Ask your child not to wear headphones when they're cycling so they're fully aware of traffic and other people around them.

Cycle with others: If your child is old enough to cycle to and from school without adult supervision, encourage them to cycle with their friends and ensure they know the safest, direct route.

How we can help

Road safety is so important for everyone to learn, no matter what age, because the more people are educated about road safety, the more road accidents can be prevented.

If your child has had an accident when cycling, contact our cycling specialists and we’ll be happy to help.

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