Research shows that walking or cycling to school helps children feel happier and healthier and even do better in class because they arrive refreshed, fit and ready to learn. More students walking or cycling means fewer cars on the road during the school run, helping to reduce congestion and pollution at the school gate.
What are the risks in walking and cycling?
The obvious are busy roads with high volumes of traffic and there are a number of different points to be aware of such as roundabouts and crossing busy roads. Other risks include exposure to air pollution and crime.
Which way should I travel to school?
It's not always best to use the quickest route. Using quieter roads avoids traffic and air pollution. Start with looking at a map and work out a route. Then use the following steps to adjust your route avoiding any high risk areas.
If cycling Kingston Council has a number of mapping services available. Follow this link for details: https://www.kingston.gov.uk/info/200316/cycling_and_walking/1450/rides_routes_and_clubs/2
How can I ensure my route is safe?
Try out the route with a trusted adult and identify any risks. Once you have identified the risks see if you can adjust the route to avoid them. If you cannot avoid them, what can you do to lower the risk? Practicing the route a few times with a trusted adult will help you become more aware, more confident, and safer around traffic. It will also give parents/carers peace of mind as you become more independent. You could also arrange to travel with friends but do not travel in too large a group as this can delay you or increase risk.
To help think about potential risks watch this video - “Expect the Unexpected” - https://vimeo.com/268811066
Use this ‘Think’ map to help identify risks - https://www.think.gov.uk/thinkmap/
This video teaches you a quick way to check if your bike is safe before each time you ride it - https://youtu.be/4qtx60bcNk0
How can I be safer when cycling to school?
If you are considering cycling and do not feel that confident you could look at going on a course. Courses are free in Kingston. Details are here:
Ride decisively and keep clear of the kerb.
Look and signal to show drivers what you plan to do, make eye contact where possible.
Avoid riding up the inside of vehicles, as you might not be seen. If a vehicle is indicating to the left hang back at the junction to reduce the risk of a collision.
Always use lights after dark or when visibility is poor. Wear high-visibility and reflective clothing and accessories at all times.
Wear a correctly fitted cycle helmet that is securely fastened and conforms to current regulations.
Highway Code for cyclists - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/rules-for-cyclists-59-to-82
What equipment will my child need?
Wet weather gear
Not too heavy a bag and supportive to carry what you need.
High visibility clothing
Sensible shoes considering the weather. Grip for ice, waterproof, supportive.
If cycling a bike lock, lights and a helmet.
What if I find that I can't walk or cycle to school and avoid risks?
We think everyone should be able to travel to school safely, directly and without delay. If you’re concerned about a lack of safe places to cross the road or cycle consider campaigning for a new crossing. Gather evidence, talk to local people, and contact your council. Your council has the power to make road crossing safer by improving or installing crossings, widening pavements and providing cycle paths. Make a case for your crossing improvement and ask your council to take action. Find out more about making crossings safer at
Well-kept, litter-free streets make walking and cycling more enjoyable. If your route to school is less than pleasant and you want to do something about it, you can. Report maintenance issues, like cracked pavements, litter, or broken streetlights to your local council and ask them to take action.