‘Get to School on Your Own Fuel’ is a national initiative led by mothers and grandmothers from across the country, encouraging students and their families to cycle to school and campaigning for safer school routes.
Locally, at the Cycle Sense workshop in Skibbereen and The Bike Circus in Clonakilty, children were invited to bring their bicycles for a free tune up and safety check before they headed back to class. The Skibbereen Cycle Bus is up and running again too. The cycle bus serves children from St Patricks, Gaelscoil Dr. Ui Shuilleabhain and Abbeystrewry who join the bus at eight stops in town before arriving bright and eager to school.
In Clonakilty a ‘Kidical Mass Cycle’, part of an international movement to help highlight the need for safer cycling for kids, took place on August 27 with the support of Clonakilty Gardaí, also on their bikes! The next Kidical Mass Cycle will take place on September 18 at 3pm as part of National Bike Week.
“2021 is a great year to start cycling to school! The new school year will see the beginning of the Government’s Safe Routes to School programme,” said Allison Roberts of the Clonakilty Bicycle Festival. “170 schools supported by Green Schools Ireland, the NTA and their Local Authority will receive funding to support new walking and cycling infrastructure. Following on from the government’s lead, we as local residents can help accelerate the introduction of new measures to make cycling to school as easy and as safe as possible. Even if our children cycle once or twice a week it will make a difference on our roads, in our local communities and to the perception of local authorities. Safety in numbers really does apply here, if we can get small groups together cycling to school it will be easier, safer and more enjoyable for all”.
National Cycling Co-ordinator with Cyclist.ie, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama expressed the hope that following two years of pandemic disruption, the 2021/2022 School Year would be a smooth running and happy experience for all. “We in Cyclist.ie also hope that the new school year will see an explosion of interest in getting to school on your own fuel. We are only too happy to support families to do this in any way we can. We urge everyone to register for the Get to School on your Own Fuel promotion and to contact their local advocacy group.”
In Galway and Limerick, where cycle buses have been running successfully for years, students, parents and teachers alike have commented on how cycling to school helps them start the day feeling bright and alert. And with the rising traffic congestion at school gates, cycling to school is a win-win for all involved.