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Supporting active journeys to school

Walking, scooting or cycling to the school gates! 

Over the last couple of years, we've seen an increase in active travel locally, with more people exploring the local area and embracing active ways of getting about.

We are keen to maintain the positive, healthier and more active behaviour changes that the pandemic unintentionally instigated.

We continue to strongly encourage parents, carers, and young people to consider active travel as their preferred way to get to and from school wherever possible.

School - Active Travel

Why active travel is important

Active travel is walking, cycling and scooting. The physical and mental health benefits of fresh air and regular exercise that result from choosing these activities are well known. Active travel also reduces traffic congestion, improving local air quality and safeguarding our environment.

According to national statistics, half of all journeys to school are two miles or less. Walking, cycling and scooting are viable options for a high proportion of our residents who would normally make these short journeys by car.

We recognise that for some families who live further afield, there is no other choice. When you have no other alternative than to use the car for the school run, please consider whether you can drop off and pick up school children some distance from school and walk the rest of the way, otherwise known as park and stride.

Some schools now prohibit parking outside the premises, so remember to park legally, safely and do not leave the engine running whilst parked.

Tips and advice to help you walk, cycle or scoot to school

Planning ahead

Before setting off on your active school run it’s important to plan ahead and identify a suitable route to school with your children. Walk it, cycle it or scoot it with your child and be mindful of potential hazards. Often the quickest route to school is not the safest! Check out our map of the existing cycle networks across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

We are working hard to provide safer, more direct routes for people walking, cycling and scooting, but in the meantime, here are some suggestions for planning your journey.

  • Pick a route with safe spots and controlled crossing points. Even if this adds an extra few minutes on top of your journey, plan in this extra time and give yourself the peace of mind knowing that your child will be safer crossing roads.
  • Choose a route that has minimal side road crossings and avoid crossing main roads.
  • Incorporate pedestrian crossings or school crossing patrollers into your route where available.
  • Incorporate signed cycle routes, quiet roads and traffic calmed areas into you bike to school journey using our area cycle map.
  • During the winter months encourage your child to wear a reflective band around their body or a high visibility vest. Scooter and bike lights should be used for every journey this time of year. 
  • Check the weather before you travel and ensure your child is wearing suitable waterproof and cold weather clothing if necessary.
  • Please check our winter ready – active travel advice page 

Crossing the road safety checklist 

  • Familiarise your child with this simple checklist to help them stay safe when crossing the road.
  • Stop at the kerb or edge of the street.
  • Look left, right, left and behind you and in front of you for traffic.
  • Wait until no traffic is coming and begin crossing.
  • Keep looking for traffic until you have finished crossing.
  • Walk, don’t run across the street.