School bike-share scheme for pupils is a 'UK first'

Pupils often stop using their bikes after they move up to secondary school, but scheme aims to reverse that trend

Tes Reporter

School bike-share scheme for pupils is a 'UK first'

A school bike-share scheme , believed to be the first in the UK, is being launched to inspire pupils become more physically active.

Bike stations have been installed at three secondary schools in Stirling as part of the project by charity Forth Environment Link (FEL), which is being run with bike-share operator nextbike.

Each school will have 10 bikes, as well as access to the 160 bikes stationed across the city as part of the nextbike scheme which already operates in Stirling.

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So far 23 pupils have signed up to the initiative, including 18 pupils from Bannockburn High School, who will use the bikes to commute between their school and local primary schools to help with PE lessons.

Shirley Paterson, FEL's active travel development manager, said: "There is a distinct drop-off in cycling numbers between primary and secondary school.

"So, we're targeting pupils aged 14 and over to get them back on their bikes before they head off to the world of work or further study.

"By incorporating cycling into their daily lives now, they're much more likely to become active adults.

"Road safety is of course paramount, so we're giving every pupil who signs up to the scheme half a day's cycle training and a voucher for a bike helmet."

Bike stations have been installed at Bannockburn, Stirling, and Wallace high schools, with a fourth station due to follow at St Modan's High School.

Pupils have designed panels to give the bikes a distinctive identity and their designs will be unveiled at the official launch of the scheme on Friday.

The initiative is using a £103,560 grant from Transport Scotland.

Krysia Solheim, nextbike UK managing director, said: "We're thrilled to be launching the UK's first-ever bike share, for school pupils in Stirling.

"We often have requests from existing customers and young people about lowering our customer age limit to include older teens, so we're excited that this has now become a reality.

"We know that if sustainable transport options such as cycling are adopted from an early age, it can help to form habits that last a lifetime and we're hoping that's what will happen in Stirling."

Ms Solheim added: "The scheme is free for pupils to join for the first 12 months and rides won't cost them a penny if they keep their rental time under an hour."

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