Getting ready for school in the mornings is hectic enough when you are travelling by car but one teacher from Gaelscoil an Mhuilinn has taken it to a whole new level by introducing the ‘Bike Bus’. Muinteoir Ger Mulvihill pilots the bike bus daily, cycling the 4km route from her home to the school located on Ashe road. At first it started as a family cycle with her children who are pupils of the school however over the last four weeks the family cycle has turned into a fun, safe and active group cycle in which children join in and drop off at various points along the route.
Westmeath Sports Partnership has being working with the pupils of 5th and 6th class of Gaelscoil an Mhuilinn over the last year implementing Active Travel, a ‘Bike Start’ cycle training programme which is delivered over the course of 6 sessions within school time with bicycles, helmets and tutors provided. The aim of this training is to encourage younger cyclists to use the cycling infrastructure of Mullingar in a safe and competent manner. Over 90 pupils from the school have taken part in the training which has now encouraged not only the pupils but parents and teachers to mount their bikes.
Ger says ‘The programme with Westmeath Sports Partnership is really worthwhile doing, it has got a lot of children on their bikes’, she added ‘There was no point in me driving to school while trying to encourage the children to cycle, that’s why I decided to cycle with my children, then more joined our group every week’.
Parents are now swapping the car keys for their helmets and cycling the distance to the school with their children. They have also implemented ‘Park and Stride’, where parents who live outside of the town meet in local car parks and walk the short distance to the school which was recently awarded the Green Flag for travel.
If you school wishes to promote Active Travel please contact Westmeath Sports Partnership on 044 93 90208 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, also see www.activetravelmullingar.ie.