Wednesday, June 14 is Green-Schools National COW Day (Cycle on Wednesday), the annual celebration of cycling to school. Organised by An Taisce’s Green-Schools programme, the day will see thousands of students in schools across the country opt for two wheels on their journey to school. Last year just under 6,000 students cycled on National COW Day.
The Green-Schools Travel theme is funded by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and is a key partner of Bike Week 2017.
In preparation for National COW Day many schools participating in the Travel theme have been receiving cycle skills training; funding towards cycling courses; fully-funded bike parking installations; and bike maintenance workshops alongside workshops on climate change and the benefits of sustainable travel.
Before embarking on these activities all schools participating in the Travel theme first do cycleability and walkability audits, to assess their routes to school and see what infrastructural changes, if any, need to be made by their local authority in order to make the transition from private car to bikes, scooters or walking easy and safe. These audits are conducted by a school’s committee (composed mainly of students) with the help of their assigned Green-Schools Travel Officer.
The audits have resulted in many schools having cycle lanes, pedestrian crossings and better signage improved or installed outside their gates. This year, Green-Schools’ focus has also been on helping schools advocate for lower speed limits outside their gates, ideally 30 kilometres per hour.
National Bike Week follows An Taisce Green-Schools National Walk to School Week, which took place from May 15 to 19 and included National W.O.W. Day (Walk on Wednesdays/Weekdays).
This year 21 schools have received fully-funded bike parking from An Taisce Green-Schools and 16 schools have had scooter parking installed.