How can we get more children cycling to school? Safe and low traffic cycling neighbourhoods, segregated bike lanes, and School Streets schemes are all vital. Equally important is secure, dedicated, and effective school cycle storage.
Recently, the School Streets initiative has been steadily gaining interest, with early signs of success. Removing motor traffic from the roads outside schools helps create a welcoming and safe destination for everyone.
Along with better bike lanes, they are helping shift the way parents and children complete the school run.
But only by combining these measures with effective cycle parking can we fully realise more cycling and scooting journeys to school.
What are the benefits of dedicated school cycle storage?
Storage and parking is an essential component of ensuring children can cycle to school safely. That’s because dedicated facilities remove any remaining barriers to cycling – keeping bicycles safe, dry, and protected – while helping to positively promote active travel with prominent, well-located cycle storage.
Proper cycle parking can ultimately help minimise motor traffic in and around schools by providing the incentive to cycle. This reduces air pollution, noise pollution, carbon dioxide emissions, and provides children with an active start to their day – shown to help improve alertness in the classroom – and is ultimately great fun for kids and parents alike.
These are some of the many now well-known benefits of getting more children cycling to school. The direct impact of better, effective cycle storage for the school, staff, and students can be summed up as follows:
- Ease security concerns of parents and staff
- Avoid bikes being locked to railings and lamp posts
- Opportunity for custom branding, colours and green roofs to promote active travel schemes and Bike to School week
- Keep bicycles and scooters dry and protected
Image credit: Durable, cost-effective polycarbonate shelters are a great start
The Basics of School Bike Parking
Cycle parking facilities generally need to focus on both the context of the active traveller’s journey and the practical considerations of the building/end destination.
School cycle storage will be used throughout term time by primarily students and pupils, and staff too. Therefore, we know the racks and shelters will need to be durable, easy to use for all ages, and cost-effective for school budgets.
Firstly, establishing the correct location for your cycle storage will help greatly encourage its use. Keeping it as close as possible to the main entrance will ensure cycle parking is visible and accessible for all.
Think about the flow of children and students, from the school gates to building entrances, and ensure the cycle parking facilities are a seamless part of that journey.
Secondly, consider the usability of both the racks and shelter. Sheffield Stands and Toast racks are both suited to the widest range of bicycle shapes and sizes. They also require no lifting of the bike, making them the ideal rack for school storage.
We wouldn’t recommend two-tier or semi-vertical racks for Primary schools, but these systems are a great way of adding capacity for sixth form, college, and University education.
Durability should be another high priority. Polycarbonate shelters are cost-effective and therefore relatively inexpensive to replace. They will require cleaning, but provide a low-cost way of adding weather protection.
More durable and secure shelters such as our Cubic designs are built with a solid steel frame and choice of cladding. They can be either open-fronted or access controlled, with the option of adding a sedum or biodiverse green roof.
Image credit: Bike Repair Stations are great for teaching children repairs Credit: Penhurst Primary School
Promoting Active Travel At Your School
But what can be done beyond the basic factors to do more to promote active travel in schools?
There are myriad ways that facilities can be used not just to tick a box, but to get parents talking about cycling and make kids excited to ride their bikes.
To start with, bike shelters for primary schools can be brightly coloured and toast racks painted to a variety of fun RAL colours. It is also possible to design custom branding with instructions on how to safely lock bikes, or fun cycling facts, as well as adding school branding colours and logos.
Green roof cycle shelters – either fully biodiverse roofs or simpler sedum variations – are a brilliant way to incorporate climate friendly design, reduce air pollution, and encourage greater wildlife diversity.
Bug hotels are great when used in conjunction with cycle shelters and again can be both educational tools and a neat way to bring wildlife to urban areas. On top of that, green roofs and bug hotels look great and help turn normally dull shelters into exciting ones for children and staff.
Lastly, bike repair stations and bike pumps are durable units that allow children and parents to make repairs to bicycles. This can help reduce the chance of abandoned bikes being left clogging racks. They are also available in any custom RAL colour, with free custom branding to add the school’s logo. A simple addition to any cycle parking facility, they’re cost-effective and are always well-used.
At Turvec, we design and sell a wide range of market-leading cycle parking solutions. We’ll work with you to ensure the cycle parking facility works well for your own school project. Give us a call or get in touch via our contact form to find out more.