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Hands Up for cycling
Record numbers of primary school children in Aberdeen are cycling to school.
The results of the 2012 Hands Up Survey, conducted annually to look at the travel habits of school pupils throughout Scotland, reveal that the number of pupils cycling to primary schools in the city is at its highest level since the survey began in 2005.
Cycling numbers have been increasing year on year, with pupils encouraged by school staff to adopt healthier lifestyles and build exercise into their daily routines. This has been supported by Aberdeen City Council, in partnership with Nestrans, Sustrans and Cycling Scotland, to increase and improve the provision of cycle parking in schools and to create a safe environment for cyclists by: implementing 20mph speed limits outside schools; creating and upgrading cycle routes; and working with schools on road safety campaigns.
Aberdeen City Council's cycling champion Councillor Ross Thomson said: The results of the Hands Up Survey 2012 are wonderful news. I am delighted that the cycle to school rate amongst our primary school children here in the city is at the highest it has been since the survey began."
"Our secondary schools have also made significant progress in encouraging pupils to take more active modes of travel to school. However, there is still work to be done which is why increasing access to Bikeability training schemes in all of our primary schools is a fundamental objective of the administration. We are making significant progress towards that goal, which gives me a huge amount of encouragement for the 2013 survey results.
"Cycling is becoming increasingly popular. It has a tremendous amount of health, economic and environmental benefits."
The survey results show that more than 10% of pupils at two primary schools, Airyhall and Fernielea, regularly cycle to school. The work of Active Schools co-ordinator Wendy Carrick has been key to the rise in the number of children cycling.
She said: "Cycling is a lifelong activity and an ideal one for all the family to be involved in. With all four of my schools having had the Getabout Cycle Roadshow, involved in the Give Me Cycle Space campaign in June, and with the amount of television and media coverage from the Tour De France, Olympics and Paralympics, pupils have never had so many reasons to start cycling.
"It's just brilliant. Liz Pirrie at Grampian Tigers has also been ensuring pupils who want to cycle more regularly and learn more skills get involved with their local club".
Airyhall School tops the poll with a cycle to school rate of 14%. Head teacher Alison Thomson said: "It is fantastic to see that all of the hard work carried out by our junior road safety officers and staff in promoting cycling and walking to school has had a positive impact.
"At Airyhall School, we try our utmost to encourage children to take the healthy option in travelling to school and appreciate the support from our parents/carers in also encouraging this at home".