New Salerno school cycle park will encourage more students to choose fitter option

The opening of a new cycle park at Salerno secondary school in Salthill tomorrow (Friday ) will encourage more students to choose the fitter option of cycling to school.

That is the opinion of Katie Sullivan, Green Schools co-ordinator at the Threadneedle Road girls’ school.

“The new bike facility will provide a safe and secure place for the pupils to park their bikes and should encourage more of them to cycle to school. Before this, there was no place to leave bicycles and therefore very few students cycled.

“The girls also took part in cycle training last December which helped in improving cycling proficiency levels as well as promoting safe and responsible cycling.”

The opening of the facility aims to accommodate students cycling to school as part of Salerno’s Green-Schools Travel Programme. The event will be attended by local celebrity cyclist and star of Killinaskully, Páraic Breathnach and will include a Bling ‘ur’ Bike competition with prizes for students including an ipod, a HMV voucher and a new bicycle. Thirsty cyclists can avail of the cycle powered smoothie machine.

The cycle park was provided by An Taisce under the Department of Transport’s Smarter Travel initiative and provides 20 secure cycle parking spaces for students. Encouraging cycling to school is one of the elements of Salerno’s Green-Schools Travel programme which aims to promote sustainable modes of transport to school, including walking, cycling, car-sharing and public transport, as an alternative to private cars on the school run.

In promoting sustainable travel to school Salerno is aiming to increase the health and fitness of the school community, improve safety on the journey to school, reduce traffic congestion at the school gates and reduce the school’s carbon footprint.

To celebrate the opening of the new facility the school has arranged a morning of cycling events and activities and is encouraging staff, parents and students to cycle or walk to school as part of the school day of action.

Tiarnan McCusker, An Taisce’s Green-Schools travel officer for the region, acknowledged the success of the school to date.

“The provision of the cycle parking was a recognition of the school’s long term dedication to the Green-Schools programme and an acknowledgement that the school is serious in promoting behaviour change in the way students travel to school.

“This is the eighth year that Salerno school has participated in the Green-Schools programme and the school has already achieved green flags for litter and waste, energy and water. It is now hoped that the new cycle parking will spur the school on to their travel flag in the near future.”

Salerno is one of 450 primary and secondary schools participating in the Green-Schools Travel Programme nationwide. Recent research carried out by Dublin Institute of Technology, Bolton Street indicates that the programme is having a major impact with schools reducing car based travel to school by approximately 22 per cent in the first year of the programme. In addition results also show a large increase in the levels of students cycling to school at facilities which received cycle parking and carried out cycle training under the programme.

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