There’s a plethora of people and organisations that can help drive active travel and the removal of barriers to its wider uptake. Some provide ideas and resources. Some may help you campaign. Others can put you in touch with other people taking similar action. Others run events that can help fuel improvements. Others may be able to secure some funding.
Reach out to these groups as appropriate.
Do bear in mind that whilst active travel improvements often require the drive of individuals with energy and staying power, it’s often only the development of wide group support that results in significant change; a simple notice on the PTA notice board or school Facebook group garnering support can be a very useful tool.
Schools themselves can plan, drive and monitor improvements via an Active Travel Plan. Increasingly Cardiff Council are looking to work with Cardiff schools to roll out these plans throughout the city. Ask whether your school has one, and how you can help. Cardiff Cycle City experience suggests that although the “way in” to a school is often via the Head Teacher, engagement and change is perhaps best achieved by collaborating with staff (teachers) who are passionate about cycling and active travel themselves and perhaps have a little more time to devote; seek these out via the Head. Many schools have achieved major progress through the efforts of just one or two such teachers, sometimes formalised as “Active Travel Champions”.
School Governors can also work well as a way to drive positive changes with a school. Again, if you can find one or more who think similarly about cycling and active travel, all the better.
Lobbying local Councillors, Assembly Members and MPs can all help.
The sustainable transport charity, Sustrans (and Sustrans Cymru), provide a range of resources, events and support for people and communities seeking greater opportunity to walk, cycle, scoot or “wheel”. For example, see their ‘Active journeys programme’, ‘Sustrans School Mark’ and ‘The Big Shift Cymru’ initiatives.
Similarly the Living Streets walking charity have potentially useful ‘Safer Routes to School’, ‘Family Walk to School’ kit, ‘WOW Travel Tracker’, ‘Walk to School Week’ and other initiatives.
Based in the heart of Cardiff, the PedalPower charity works wonders providing a “cycling charity for all”. Their aim is to encourage and enable children and adults of all ages and abilities to experience the benefits of cycling. This wonderful charity provides accessible bike hire and sales (to enable people with any ability or disability to cycle), general cycle hire, adult and child cycle training, cycling groups (for all abilities), bike checks and repairs, and donated bikes and second-hand bike sales. They also distribute and maintain the growing fleet of Nextbike hire bikes in the city.
Cycling UK campaign and provide advice on a wide range of cycling topics including how to cycle to school and how to lobby schools to get more families travelling by bike.
Welsh Cycling work towards growing the number of schools involved in cycling in Wales. Their Go-Ride programme with schools looks to introduce children to the sport of cycling in a fun and safe way centred around the school. Coaching and activities can be run as either an after-school club or during curriculum PE.
Cardiff Council, especially their Planning, Transport and Environment department. This enthusiastic department fosters active travel (and increasingly Active Travel Plans) with schools. They can also be an avenue to harness cycling and road safety training and may be able to facilitate access to Welsh Government funding for Safe Routes in Communities.
Lastly, here at Cardiff Cycle City we’ll help wherever we can. See our “How C=CC can help” section.
The Welsh Assembly Government runs a Cross Party Group on the Active Travel Act (CPGATA). This group, established by Assembly Members from three different political parties, aims to raise awareness of the Active Travel Act and its implementation and campaigns for more effective policies and investment in active travel and cycling infrastructure. At the time of writing the group are shaping a “toolkit” document. This is
designed to help teachers, parents, Governors, local Councillors and other members of a school community who wish to help improve the way its pupils travel to and from its premises.
Finally, whoever you use on your drive to bolster active travel, it’s always advisable to work closely with the school and keep them informed, involved and on side.