York & North Yorkshire

Children in York may get school-run bikes

Generic bicycle wheel
Image caption Vouchers could be used to buy a bike in the city

Hundreds of school children in York could be eligible for a bicycle bought with public funds to cut school-run congestion.

Parents of youngsters who currently get free school transport could opt for vouchers to get the bike and safety equipment.

The idea is one of a series of measures being discussed by the City of York Council.

Opponents say it is a parent's decision on how their child gets to school.

A scheme in Hull has seen £270 in vouchers issued to cover the costs.

Members of the city's School Travel Plans Ad Hoc Scrutiny Committee looked at the proposal at a recent meeting.

The report said: "Pressures on time may be a key factor for parents in deciding whether to take their child to school by car as part of their journey to work."

Councillors looking at the issue agreed that "efforts should be focused on achieving a modal shift" in those parents who were travelling less than two miles from home to work.

The Hull City Council scheme makes the purchase of safety accessories compulsory and each child taking part must be cycle trained to national standard cycle training level three.

But Nick Seaton, the chairman of the York-based lobby the Campaign for Real Education said it was not the job of a council to influence any parent's decision on how their child travelled to school.

He said: "Most parents and members of public think it is up to parents decide whether children cycle or travel [on a bus] to school.

"It's not not the job of councils to manipulate their position."

"In these stringent times, with missed pay rises, it's not the time for any council to pay extra money to help people to buy a bicycle."

A spokeswoman for the City of York Council said the idea was still being considered by the scrutiny committee.

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