Isn’t It Time We All Joined the School Biking Infrastructure Movement?
The movement toward creating more sustainable student mobility by improving bicycle infrastructure is gathering momentum around the United States. It’s about creating an eco-friendly school culture where all students can ride their bicycles to school.
This is especially important for big cities with large student populations. Indeed, many cities across the country are beginning to make moves towards sustainable infrastructure for bicycles. It is a relatively cheap and easy way to demonstrate environmental consciousness.
The movement is not just about bikes though – it is about creating a sustainable school culture that promotes health and wellness, community engagement, and creativity among all students.
5 Benefits of Bike Infrastructure for Schools and Environments
To improve physical activity and reduce poor health among children and students, bike infrastructure in schools and communities is a key strategy. Cycling to school is a great way to get healthy and stay fit while having fun. The benefits of bike infrastructure can be summarized in the following five points:
Schools with Bike Infrastructure have more students who ride bikes
Bike Infrastructure creates an active living environment
Cycling can be a cost-effective means of transportation
Biking offers environmental benefits from reduced traffic congestion
With more children cycling to school, the pollutive impact of cars will be reduced
How Does Bike Infrastructure Affect Children’s Health and Well-Being?
The health benefits of biking are significant. Biking can decrease your risk for obesity, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and mental illness.
Bike infrastructure has proven to have the ability to influence healthier lifestyles among children. For example, cities with better bike infrastructure have been found to have lower rates of overweight and obesity in children.
For kids to benefit from being able to ride bikes more freely, they need safe roads that allow riders of all ages and abilities – including parents who might be carrying babies or toddlers on their bikes – to feel comfortable riding on them.
What Is the Current Situation of Classroom Bike Infrastructure in the US?
Despite the increasing popularity of cycling as a sustainable and healthy lifestyle choice, there is currently a lack of bike infrastructure in many American cities. The current situation of bicycle infrastructure is not ideal, and there’s a lot of room for improvement.
One problem is that the most common types of bike lanes or paths can lead to conflicts with cars and pedestrians because these lanes aren’t always wide enough, and they don’t always go where people want them to go.
How We Can Improve Classroom Bike Infrastructure with Four Key Strategies
There are many safety concerns when it comes to moving around on a bicycle in traffic, especially in large cities. Little surprise, then, that a survey carried out by the US Department of Health’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention found almost two-thirds of the country’s schools reported that fewer than 10% of pupils ride bikes to school.
The survey also found that those schools with the highest bike riding pupils provide at least one of the following three things:
With this in mind, we decided to examine the ways that could improve bicycle infrastructure design for students. We would like to see more schools (and city planning departments) adopt the following range of measures:
Develop a bicycle-friendly school zone, creating a clear and easy way to enter and exit the schools for cyclists
Increase the number of bicycle parking spaces and bike racks
Promote cycling as a healthy and convenient option for commuting to school
Develop a school-wide culture of cycling safety
Introduce traffic calming measures, including crossing guards
Add cycling into the school curriculum, and provide practical cycling education for all students and staff
Many of these measures are very low-cost, providing huge benefits to schoolchildren and the wider community.
How to Encourage More Walking & Biking Through Bike Infrastructure in Your City
There are many benefits to putting in bike infrastructure for schools, including improving health and reducing congestion.
Low-income households are often unable to afford a car, which makes bikes an affordable and efficient way to get around. Children who live closer to bike lanes also have higher rates of physical activity, which contributes significantly to their health and well-being.
To access these benefits, and to help develop more sustainable schools, communities, and cities, we must develop a focus on improving school biking infrastructure.
At ACB Consulting, we are committed to helping improve the communities in which we live, work, and play – including how they are conceived, designed, and created. To learn more, contact ACB Consulting.