Yesterday – 5 September 2011 – more than 150,000 schoolchildren entered the campaign “Bike to School” organized by Danish Cyclists’ Federation. The number of participants is record high!
Bike to School is the children’s counterpart to Bike to Work and targets students in the age of 5-15. The campaign has existed for seven years, its support from the Danish elementary schools increasing year by year. The campaign runs for two weeks in September every year with classes all over the country competing to see who can cycle to school the most.
Every day, the class notes the number of students arriving on bicycle and how many of them were wearing a helmet. Each triggers a ticket in a lottery with various prizes. The comprehensive campaign website caters both to students, teachers, and parents. For instance, teachers can find inspiration on how to incorporate the bicycle in class, and students can amuse themselves with fun bicycle-related activities.
Many municipalities back the campaign both in terms of economic support, local prizes, and by encouraging the schools to participate. On many schools, the campaign has become a tradition to which especially students in middle school are very dedicated.
There are special rules for the younger students who are too young to cycle to school on their own. Instead, you get points for cycle training with your parents after school hours. In this way, the campaign also makes families start cycle training.
Interest in the campaign has been on the rise for the entire life of the campaign. During the last few years, schools in practically all municipalities in the country have participated, and evaluations show that the campaign significantly increases the schools’ focus on cycling. In 2009, 40 percent of the participants did not bike to school before the campaign. And every fourth child continued using the bike afterwards.