In July the government announced the full opening of schools and further education establishments in the Autumn.
Expectations were also placed on councils to encourage sustainable travel, offer support and provide reassurance for communities during this time.
Since then we have been working in partnership with our local schools, transport operators and travel planners to develop solutions which meet our local needs. 'The new you' is our initiative aimed at encouraging positive behaviour changes and travel choices post lockdown.
Our plans are based on specific guidance issued from government to local authorities.
The new you is travelling back to school
During lockdown we have seen more people exploring their local area, embracing active ways of getting about and enjoying a slower pace of life.
The return to school period provides the new you with an opportunity to re-evaluate your traditional journey and maintain some of the positive behaviour changes that COVID-19 has unintentionally instigated.
We are therefore strongly encouraging parents, carers and young people to consider active travel as their preferred way to get to and from school.
Why active travel is important to the new you
Active travel is walking, cycling and scooting. The health benefits of fresh air and regular exercise that will result from choosing these activities is well known.
With more flexible ways of working and an increase in the number of people exploring the local area on foot or by bike, there is now the potential for more quality family time. For instance, if the new you has primary age children and you are now working from home, try leaving the car on the drive and walk the little one to school.
Most importantly, the new you can continue the spirit of community which has marked lockdown and choose active travel to benefit society. This includes improving local air quality and safeguarding our environment. It will also mean more available space on buses reserved for those with no alternative means of travel.
The new you can park and stride
According to national statistics, half of all journeys to school are two miles or less. Walking, cycling and scooting is a viable option for a high proportion of our residents who would normally make these short journeys by car.
We recognise that for some families who live further afield, there is no other choice. When you have no other alternative than to use the car for the school run, the new you should consider:
- drop off and pick up the kids some distance from school and walk the rest of the way, otherwise known as park and stride
- share trips with friends and neighbours’ children to reduce the number of individual journeys. Ensure that you travel with the same people each time.
Some schools will now prohibit parking outside the premises, so remember to park legally, safely and do not leave the engine running whilst parked.
Tips and advice to help the new you walk, cycle or scoot to school
The new you plans ahead
Before setting off on your active school run it’s important to plan ahead and identify a suitable route to school with your kids. Walk it, cycle it or scoot it with your child and be mindful of potential hazards. Often the quickest route to school is not the safest! We are working hard to provide safer, more direct routes for people walking, cycling and scooting, but in the meantime, here are some suggestions for planning your journey.
Pick a route with safe spots and controlled crossing points. Even if this adds an extra few minutes on top of your journey, plan in this extra time and give yourself the peace of mind knowing that your child will be safer crossing roads.
Helpful tips to help the new you plan your route
- Choose a route that has minimal side road crossings and avoid crossing main roads.
- Incorporate pedestrian crossings or school crossing patrollers into your route where available.
- As the days get shorter encourage your child to wear a reflective band around their body or a high visibility vest. Scooter and bike lights should be used for every journey this time of year.
- Check the weather before you travel and ensure your child is wearing suitable waterproof and cold weather clothing if necessary.
- Incorporate signed cycle routes, quiet roads and traffic calmed areas into you bike to school journey using our area cycle map.
Crossing the road safely checklist
Familiarise your child with this simple checklist to help them stay safe when crossing the road.
- Stop at the kerb or edge of the street.
- Look left, right, left and behind you and in front of you for traffic.
- Wait until no traffic is coming and begin crossing.
- Keep looking for traffic until you have finished crossing.
- Walk, don’t run across the street.
Free cycle training for young people aged 10-18
Building practical skills and confidence on the road, Bikeability cycle training courses are currently available for children who live or go to school in Bournemouth. More details of these courses and how to book is available on our website.
Residents in Christchurch or Poole can email for more information on available courses in these specific areas.