The Bike to School Project

Photo: Toronto Central Academy’s first club ride of the 2014 season (credit: Duvy Nguyen)
The trip to and from school is an important part of the day for children and youth. It can be a chance to be outside, to spend time with parents or caregivers and friends, and eventually to develop a sense of independence. Active modes of transportation - walking, biking, scootering and more - confer the most benefits. But since 1985, in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, the number of students being driven to school by their parents has doubled to over 30%, while the number traveling by active modes has fallen to under 40%.

Cycle Toronto has joined the growing movement to reverse the worrying trend. We focus on what we know best - cycling - a great travel mode especially for trips between 2 and 5 km in length. We advocate for improved cycling infrastructure in and around schools and bike education among children and youth. With partners, we work directly with students, teachers and parents to nurture a bike culture in schools across our city.

Our achievements

  • successfully advocating with the Toronto District School Board to adopt the TDSB Charter for Active, Safe and Sustainable Transportation and to declare their first-ever Bike to School Day in May 2014;
  • collaborating with school boards, public health offices, regions and municipalities to establish Bike to School Week across the GTHA,which involved over 16,000 students in 2015 and 21,000 students in 2016;
  • supporting teachers and students to establish bike clubs and campaigns at secondary schools;
  • reaching over 11,000 elementary and secondary school students with cycling education programs since April 1, 2016!

Getting in touch

  • Any TDSB teacher may request a free cycling education program provided by our staff at their school, via the TDSB EcoSchool Program – click on Cycling Education Programs and fill out the form before February 28, 2017 at this link
  • Toronto teachers or students in secondary school, who are interested in starting a school bike club or other bike-related program, may contact Chantelle Campbell-Sholzberg at ccampbell @ culturelink.ca or 416-588-6288 x203
  • For other inquiries or new partnership ideas, please contact Kristin Schwartz at kschwartz @ culturelink.ca or 416-588-6288 x229.

Project history and recognition

Since 2008, Cycle Toronto and CultureLink have been involved in a partnership to encourage newcomers to cycle in and around Toronto because cycling is affordable, healthy, and convenient. Our innovative partnership has been recognized with five awards, including the 2010 Excellence in Sustainable Transportation award from the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association, the Alliance for Biking and Walking 2010 Advocacy Innovation of the Year Award and the 2016 Wheels of Change Advocacy Award from Share the Road Cycling Coalition.

The Bike to School Project - a collaboration between CultureLink, Cycle Toronto and the Toronto Cycling Think and Do Tank - acknowledges the support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Toronto District School Board and Smart Commute, a program of Metrolinx. Past funders have included the Toronto Foundation, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation Cycling Training Fund, and the Toronto Bicycling Network.

 

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