A scheme to encourage people to ride bikes more was officially launched today with a Scottish Government ministerial visit.
The I Bike Communities project aims to engage, enable, and motivate adults to increase their levels of active travel and physical activity which will improve health and wellbeing. It follows on from the successful I Bike Schools scheme which is a school-based behaviour change programme promoting cycling, walking, and scooting.
Scottish Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants' Rights Patrick Harvey met council leaders and some of the participants in the I Bike Schools scheme during a visit to Aberdeen.
Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Ian Yuill quote said: “We are delighted to launch the Aberdeen I Bike Communities project today when Mr Harvie is here to see the successful I Bike Schools scheme.
“We want to encourage more people to walk, scoot, and cycle so projects such as these help towards that goal.”
Mr Harvie said: “Community projects like this are vital to building a more active nation, where more people can choose to walk, wheel and cycle for their shorter everyday journeys.
“These behaviour change initiatives go hand-in-hand with our ambitions to expand and expedite the delivery of active travel infrastructure, underpinned by record investment of £150million in 2022-23, as we progress towards our commitment to invest at least £320million or 10% of the transport budget by 2024-25.”
The I Bike Communities project will work with a wide variety of adult groups which will include, but are not limited to, the parents and guardians of pupils at Harlaw Academy, students, retirees, and women-only groups.
The successful I Bike Schools scheme which is a school area-based behaviour change programme promoting cycling, walking, and scooting is currently working with youngsters in the Harlaw Academy Associated Schools Group (ASG). It started in early 2017 and previously worked in Bridge of Don Academy, Oldmachar Academy, Northfield Academy and Aberdeen Grammar School clusters.
The I Bike Schools project offers a wide variety of activities including active travel breakfasts, bike maintenance sessions, led walks, smoothie bike, scooter skills, led cycles, active travel competitions, balance bikes and many more.
In the 2020/21 academic year, highlights of the Aberdeen I Bike Schools project included buying equipment such as bikes, scooters, helmets, and tools for eight schools, the percentage of pupils travelling by car fell by 12%, all teachers said I Bike had an impact on encouraging positive attitudes towards active travel amongst pupils, and seven out of eight teachers said the programme had an impact on encouraging positive attitudes towards active travel amongst teachers.
In schools, the I Bike officer has implemented the #AndSheCycles campaign which was co-developed by young women aged 13 to 18 across Scotland and empowers young female cycling ambassadors to work together to help get more girls in their school, college, or youth group back on their bikes. Both of the I Bike projects are being part-funded by Sustrans.
* The I Bike Programme in Aberdeen is run by Sustrans Scotland and, in addition to funding from Sustrans themselves, is funded by several National funding streams. These include the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places (SCSP) programme, run by Paths for All, which is a National programme to increase active and sustainable travel throughout Scotland. The SCSP programme is grant-funded by Transport Scotland. The I Bike Officers are supported in their work by Sustrans, Aberdeen City Council and a number of local volunteers. To find out more, or to become a volunteer, go to https://ibike.sustrans.org.uk/
PICTURE CAPTION: Jamie Spalding (Sustrans ibike coordinator for North Scotland), Cllr Ian Yuill, Patrick Harvie, and Cllr Kairin Van Sweeden, with children from Mile End School holiday club