A first for County Cork with the launch of a Schools Safe Cycling Hub

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Gillian Coughlan has launched the county’s first safe cycling hub for primary schools which aims to help children stay safe while cycling in their communities.

Aimed at schools where cycling training is not currently taking place, coaching will be provided to school staff by Cycling Ireland as part of the Cycle Right Training Program.

Mayor Coughlan launched the project at Bunscoil na Toirbhirte in Mitchelstown as part of Bike Week 2021. Speaking at the launch, Mayor Coughlan said,

“Cycling is a life skill and cycling safely is a must for all our school children. Cyclists are vulnerable road users and by providing our children with the necessary skills and knowledge at a young age they can be better, safer cyclists. A further win will be an increase in exercise for children while participating in the School Cycle Right Program as well as cycling afterwards in their own locality.  This will be beneficial in terms of their health and I hope the hubs will also encourage active travel to school.”

The pilot initially involves two schools in Mitchelstown, Bunscoil na Toirbhirte and CBS Primary School, Mitchelstown, who will form a hub and will be provided with a bank of 10 recycled bicycles.  Children will learn the correct cycling techniques and the rules of the road around cycling

Bernard O’Connell and Michael McCarthy, Principals of both schools highlighted how,

“CBS Primary and Bunscoil na Toirbhirte are delighted to be involved in the School Safe Cycle Hub initiative. As part of our Green Flag programme we aim to encourage as many children as possible to walk or cycle to school, and we believe that this initiative will provide the children with lifelong skills in bike handling and road safety while at the same time promoting healthy living and exercise.”

Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey added,

“Two schools will be twinned to form a School Safe Cycle Hub and they will be provided with a bank of 10 reconditioned bicycles so that the schools can roll out the Cycle Right Programme themselves. The schools will work together to share the equipment and will be able to roll out the program all year round. The intention is that the hub will be self-sustainable and enjoyable for the school community involved.”

The upcycled bikes are funded by Cork County Council and Cork Local Sports Partnership for the pilot phase. Commenting on the collaboration, Maurice O Sullivan of Cork Sports Partnership said,

“Cork Sports Partnership is delighted to be working with Cork County Council and Cycling Ireland to promote safer cycling in County Cork. This new Cycle Right teacher training pilot programme has the potential to have big impacts in ensuring children all across Cork have access to quality cycle training within the school setting on a more regular basis. It is fantastic to see the commitment from the schools here in Mitchelstown to establish a cycling hub between them which will only add to the success of the programme going forward.”