On our return to school after the second lockdown (2020), it was noticed that many children had started cycling and walking to school. In line with Covid restrictions the walking bus was still on hold. We began to see an increase in the numbers of children walking and cycling to school from day to day.
The Green Schools Committee met up to discuss their ideas for the next few months. They recognised this increase in the numbers walking and cycling to school and it was decided that the safety of the children was an important focus. It was suggested that a Traffic Calming Campaign was necessary. The committee wanted to remind drivers that there were now more children using our roads and pathways and that the traffic needed to slow down. And so began the campaign.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, the committed Green Schools members along with members of the school staff stand on the roadside to remind drivers to reduce their speed. They have seen a difference from their presence on the roadside. It has been decided to continue for the remainder of the school year.
Slow Down you Move too fast!
The Clare Echo published an article on the Traffic Calming Campaign. There was a need for change in line with a familiar Paul Simon song ‘Slow down you move too fast’.
The campaign has been a successful one. More and more children are cycling and walking to school. It was decided to conduct another survey on the 12th April to compare with our 2019 survey. It was discovered that over the week from 1st to 6th class, 16% of the children walked to school, 17% cycled and 11% car – pooled with friends and 56% came by car with parents. It was such a wonderful change for the better.
From 97% travelling by car down to 56% was something to celebrate. The Green Schools Committee recognised the importance of their campaign to keep the children of our school safe on the road to Knockanean.
These are the images that have now become normal in our school.
Cycle Right Training Programme
On May 18th and 25th sixth class took part in the Cycle Right training programme. Cycle Right is the National Standard for Cycle Training and provides practical cycle safety and skills training to promote competent and confident cyclists. Cycle Right is produced and supported by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the Road Safety Authority and Cycling Ireland, with input from central and local agencies and other groups.
As the children move through the stages of training, they take greater levels of responsibility for themselves on their bike on the road.
Stage One was based in the schoolyard. Trainees took bicycle and road skills training, mixed with theoretical and Rules of the Road instruction. The children engaged in instructor-led cycles, guided and directed on correct positioning and decision-making.
At Stage Two trainees have a more active role in the journey and decision-making in an instructor-facilitated setting.
By Stage Three trainees take the lead role on the journey, planning the route and making active decisions with regard to positioning and learning about the interactions they may have with traffic in a more complex environment. The instructors assessed and gave feedback throughout.
The sixth class really enjoyed the course and gained a lot from the experience. Hopefully, they will feel more equipped when cycling on our busy roads.
My Cycling Experience
On Tuesday 18/5/21 and Tuesday 25/5 ’21 a man visited our school. His name was Leroy. He taught us how to put on our helmet properly and how to do an emergency stop. An emergency stop is when you are in a dangerous position and you need to stop fast. He also taught us how to change lanes on a road. If you are ever in a position where you need to change, you need to look behind for three seconds, and then after three seconds do a signal. Put your right hand or your left hand out for three seconds and then take it back. Make sure you look again because not every car stops. Then turn into your lane.
He also taught us about when you’re approaching a four cross road, before you’re about to pull out onto a road. You need to stop, look left and right and do your hand signal. If there are no cars coming, or they have stopped, carefully pull out and keep on cycling.
Overall it was great fun. All my friends enjoyed it and my classmates all cycled home together. I really enjoyed it and couldn’t wait to cycle again the next day.
By Jamsie Mc Mahon
Our Cycling Experience
This week and last week, sixth class did a cycle safety course. The instructors Richard and Leroy taught us how to be aware and safe on the road. They taught us to do an emergency brake fast and to do proper indications. We did this course in the space of two weeks. Richard and Leroy are trying to teach every school in Clare to cycle safely.
We did this course because many kids in our school have started to cycle. We are trying to get the Green Schools travel flag. One of our drills involved using the left and right hand signal, and turning your head to look behind. At the end of the day everyone enjoyed doing the training.
By Hayley Dixon and Kate Mc Donough
Cycle Right Training
Sixth class did a cycling course with two instructors called Leroy and Richard. We learnt to signal left and right. We did the training in the back yard of the school. Richard set up junctions and Leroy told us what to do. On the first day it was lovely weather with some showers. On the second day of the course it was lashing rain in the morning but sunny in the afternoon. We did the training as Knockanean is working hard to go green, and we are working towards getting our Green Schools travel flag.
By Aoife Sullivan