STREETS in Coventry were transformed into traffic-free spaces for one day to encourage pupils to cycle to school.
Clarence Street, Albert Street and Leigh Street in Hillfields were closed off during picking up and dropping off times on Tuesday.
It was aimed at getting pupils of St Mary and St Benedict Primary School on their bikes.
The closure was organised by walking and cycling charity Sustrans in partnership with Coventry City Council following discussions with residents living around the school.
It was arranged to coincide with Bike to School Week which has also been organised by Sustrans and supported by the Bikeability Trust.
The charity says it comes as recent evidence suggests that just 2 per cent of primary school children in England cycle into school compared to 49 per cent in the Netherlands.
One in four cars on the road during the morning rush is on the school run, despite the average primary school journey being just 1.6 miles.
A majority of teachers now support a ban at the school gates during the school run, Sutrans adds.
A survey conducted by the Bikeability Trust of over 1,000 parents with children aged 12 and under showed that two-thirds of parents think cycling is an easy way to increase their child’s physical activity levels.
During the street closures Sustrans used specialist equipment to measure improvements in air quality which will be reported to the council.
Gavin Passmore, partnerships manager for Sustrans, said; “It’s one of a range of initiatives we have been undertaking with schools across the city to show the benefits of cycling to school for children in Coventry.”
Councillor Patricia Hetherton, Coventry City Council’s cabinet member for city services, said: “I’m really pleased that we have been able to support this initiative.
“The journey to school and home again is a great opportunity to get active and to enjoy a walk together – hopefully creating a healthy habit for life.
“During our year of wellbeing and year as the European City of Sport, I hope that we can encourage as many families as possible to ditch the car.
“We all need to think again about how we travel and I hope this street closure has helped to encourage people to leave the car at home and stretch their legs instead – its good for them and the environment.”
Pauline Macdonald, Head Teacher at St Mary and St Benedict Catholic Primary School, said; “Today’s street closure event was really successful. It was great to see the whole school community enjoying a safer road and better air quality. We’ve gone from having two pupils cycling to school at the start of the academic year, to ten, and then 43 yesterday thanks to the street closure and Bike to School week.”
For more on Bike to School Week, visit: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/campaigns/bike-to-school-week-2019/