Biking safety initiative blazing a trail through Aberdeen

Phil Thornley working with pupils during one of the safety exercises.
Phil Thornley working with pupils during one of the safety exercises.

A special scheme working to get children on their bikes is set to come to Aberdeen.

I Bike is a project that teaches children how to cycle safely, and it is preparing to launch in the Bridge of Don and St Machar areas.

Set up by I Bike, the scheme has already been blazing a trail in the North-east after being in introduced in Aberdeenshire last April.

Along with being taught to cycle safely, children are also taken on trips, to events and even learn about nature.

School cycling officer Phil Thornley, of Sustrans Scotland, said: “We’re trying to encourage them and their parents to stop being driven everywhere and to cycle.

“What we do is extra on top of the core bikeability done by teaching staff.

“We catch young children to teach them to bike safely and correctly.”

Statistics recorded by I Bike, which kicked off in Edinburgh eight years ago, show an increase in children using bikes.

On average there is a 4-8% rise in pupils cycling to school and outside of school by the end of a year-long programme.

The scheme focuses on girls, who typically see a drop in physical activity when they transition from primary to secondary school.

Phil added: “It means they don’t have to worry what they’re wearing.

“It may seem silly but it is the case they can be put off, boys sometimes just show off and mess around.”

Phil works with around 2,100 pupils – 600 secondary and 1,500 primary – in Inverurie.

On December 2, Phil has organised a special light festival.

Children are told to dress up in clothing with fairy lights on or reflective straps to teach them about the importance of visibility.

It takes place in Kellands Park, Inverurie, between 4pm and 6pm.

I Bike is searching for a school cycling officer to take over the reigns of the Aberdeen project, which will run on an annual cycle.

The project will move to different parts of the city after a year-long programme.