Healthy and bicycle-friendly school roads
The manual guides public officials and politicians in municipalities by demonstrating a series of best case structural measures, which have motivated children to cycle back and forth between school and home. Efficient and inexpensive initiatives are collected in the manual, each of which is described in a script, so that the initiatives can be implemented with ease.
Such a manual would point out, why it is important for officials and politicians to work with structural prevention and also make the work easier, faster and create more results.
Purpose of the manual
The Danish Cancer Society hopes that the municipalities, with the help of the manual, will target the bicycle as the obvious choice of transportation, when children are going to school. It is proven that physical activity prevents lifestyle diseases, including cancer. When more children are using the bike daily, it creates a basis for healthy habits, which among other things prevents cancer.
The initiatives in the manual are selected based on realistic and effective solutions. There is no reference to the very expensive construction projects. On the contrary, several of the solutions are inexpensive and can be readily implemented in many places. Safe routes to school, is a critical precondition in order for more children to walk or cycle on their own to school.
Savings by bike-cycling
The health effects of cycling instead of taking the car, is visible in a reduction of the health costs and increasing life expectancy, which benefits the society and the individual cyclist. Overall an investment in bicycle-friendly roads to school has a payback time of a few years, because the one-time expense can replace current expenditure on transportation and health.
School collaboration is important
In order for the improvements to have the desired effect in relation to new cyclists, it is important that the municipality, in cooperation with the school, communicates improvements to the public. By focusing on communication, it will be possible to address more attention to the area and thus help achieve future political support.
Work across departments
It is important that the municipalities work across departments, so that the municipalitys ongoing work on infrastructures is seen in connection with the municipalitys multifaceted interests in safe routes to and from school for children who are healthy and ready to learn. By compiling the many interests, the biggest benefit is achieved for the citizens.
Healthy and active children are an investment that extends into the future because the children grow up and become adults and parents themselves. The physical improvements are permanent, and good traffic habits are often inherited.
In Denmark and the rest of the world at the present moment, focus is to register the total number of traffic accidents. The Danish Cancer Society would like to change this focus to measure the total number of bicyclists in new interventions.
Text: Henriette Jensen, firstname.lastname@example.org