A Cork group is hoping to establish the city’s first ‘cycle bus’ to encourage kids in Cork to cycle to school, instead of taking the car or bus.
The ‘cycle bus’ initiative sees parents and children cycle to school in large groups and has already proven a success in Galway and Limerick.
The Cork Cycling Campaign is aiming to establish a cycle bus in Ballincollig and is hoping for the same success.
The plan is to roll out the Ballincollig Cycle Bus on suitable Fridays during the school year with the bus travelling past four national schools in the area.
“The Cork Cycling Campaign is a group promoting utility cycling in Cork city,” said Dean Venables, chairperson of the group.
“That means cycling for everyday purposes of transport so going to work, going to the shops and getting around.
“This project is called the Ballincollig cycle bus and the aim is to get school children, particularly national school children, cycling to school everyday as part of their daily activities,” he explained.
“The way in which we are going to do that is to have a large group of parents and children cycling together.
“That provides training and safety for the kids cycling and it also provides assurance for parents that their kids are seen on the road and that people are aware that they’re there.
Local primary school teacher, Conn Donovan, added:
“As a teacher, we’re aware that only one in four children are meeting the daily physical guidelines.
“Most children are just not active enough every day,” he said.
Mr Donovan added this was evident within classrooms as children arrived to school tired and were unwilling to get active and involved in exercise and sport.
“We would estimate that five percent of children currently cycle to school in Ireland.
“The majority in most schools are driven to school,” he said.
“So something like a cycle bus allows children to come together in an active, positive way to travel to school together.
“They get the social side, physical side, activity side and they also get some fresh air.” The group has entered a contest for a Cork Voices Funding Grant for Cork City PPN Members.
If successful in gaining funds, the money will go towards the purchase of safety equipment as well as an information campaign to inspire more families to cycle to school.
The CCC said the initiative offers an innovative alternative to the gridlock of school runs, congestion, poor air quality and inactivity, and that physical activity is an important way to help children stay concentrated and focused in school.