MP helps kids keep bikes in top condition

Laura Johnston (Whiteabbey Primary pupil), Sammy Wilson MP, Beth Harding (Sustrans Bike It Officer) and Scott Hutton (Whiteabbey Primary pupil) at the Dr Bike session. INNT 40-555-CON
Laura Johnston (Whiteabbey Primary pupil), Sammy Wilson MP, Beth Harding (Sustrans Bike It Officer) and Scott Hutton (Whiteabbey Primary pupil) at the Dr Bike session. INNT 40-555-CON

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson aided Dr Bike at Whiteabbey Primary School last Friday as pupils’ bicycles were given a free check-up.

Charity Sustrans works with pupils at the school to provide them with the skills and information necessary to allow them to take to two wheels for the journey to school on a regular basis.

Dr Bike also gave children top tips on how to keep their bike in prime condition, making it safe for cycling to school regularly.

Steven Patterson, Sustrans’ Northern Ireland director, said: “Having a bike safe for the road is important for any cyclist, which is why Sustrans works with children to help them understand their bike.

“Getting more of our children cycling to school is great for their health – and studies show active kids are better in the classroom. We hope Sammy Wilson MP will be inspired to go the extra mile and call for more children in east Antrim to have the chance to cycle safely to school.”

Sustrans has been working with the school since 2009 and in the first two years the number of children cycling to school at least once a week quadrupled, with now a quarter of pupils using two wheels regularly, compared to a national average of just 2 per cent.

Whiteabbey Primary principal Peter Wright said: “Working with Sustrans has been great. So many pupils and parents have taken part in all the events and it’s really worked – so many of our kids are now cycling to school regularly.

“One of the aspects I am personally most impressed with is the on-road training. It was great to see the children learning the rules of the road in a well-supervised and safe setting.”

Sammy Wilson MP added: “Encouraging children to cycle to school has many benefits. The children benefit from being fitter and becoming road-wiser and the independence which travelling to school by themselves is also good for any child’s development.

“Road users benefit because the traffic often associated with the school run is reduced.

“Considerable investment has gone into making routes to school safer and this is important if parents are to be assured that children are not being put at risk by travelling to school on their bicycles. This is worthwhile investment and I hope that it results in significantly more children using this mode of transport.”