Pupils log masses of miles in 2017 Big Pedal

More than 306,000 miles by bike or scooter, have been logged by Scots school pupils during Sustrans' Big Pedal challenge in March.

The 10-day, UK-wide challenge, saw pupils, parents and staff leave the cars at home to make more than one million journeys to and from school by bike or scooter.

A total of 262 schools across Scotland registered to take part in The Big Pedal, which has been running since 2010. And, as well as making the equivalent of 119 trips around the world or 12 trips to the moon, the trips logged by pupils stopped 7,813 gallons of fuel from being used on the school run – a saving of almost £43,000 for parents on petrol.

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Cecilia Oram, Smarter Choices Coordinator, Education and Young People at Sustrans Scotland, said: “We’re delighted so many schools took part in this year’s Big Pedal, which demonstrates the change that can be achieved when people choose to cycle or scoot instead of travelling by car.

“At 1.6 miles, the average primary school journey is a distance that can be walked, scooted or cycled as an easy way of building more physical activity into our busy lives.

“The numbers speak for themselves – travelling in this way makes a real difference to our children’s health, our environment and our pockets.”

A recent YouGov poll, carried out on behalf of Sustrans, found that fewer than one in 10 of the UK’s parents say their children get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

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According to government guidelines, children and young people aged 5 to 18 need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day “to maintain a basic level of health”.

Walking, scooting or cycling to school would help children get their recommended hour of physical activity a day and maintain a healthy weight.

Parents, however, have cited the need for improved infrastructure, such as wider pavements and better crossings, and enhanced road safety among their top priorities before allowing their child to walk, scoot or cycle to school.

The Big Pedal, which took place at the end of March, was powered by national walking and cycling charity Sustrans and funded by the Bicycle Association on behalf of the cycle industry through its Bike Hub scheme.

For more information and a list of the overall winners