Hazzard visits Downpatrick for Bike to School Day

Date published: 15 June 2016

Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard joined teachers and pupils at St Colmcille’s Primary School in Downpatrick today to celebrate Bike to School Day.

Minister Hazzard celebrates Bike to School Day with pupils from St Colmcille's Primary School
Minister Hazzard celebrates Bike to School Day with pupils from St Colmcille's Primary School

The Minister was on hand to greet pupils with a well deserved healthy breakfast snack as they arrived at school on their bikes.

Bike to School Day is part of Bike Week, which is taking place from 11 - 19 June. Travelwise NI, the sustainable transport team within the Department for Infrastructure has collaborated with local councils, employers, schools and cycling organisations to deliver over 100 cycling events and activities during the week. These include BBQ cycle rides, family cycle evenings, safety workshops and mountain bike competitions to encourage everyone to get on their bikes.

Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard said:

”It is great to see so many children, parents and teachers getting involved with Bike to School Day. This is the perfect opportunity for children who are regular cyclists and new young cyclists to get out on their bikes and start building healthy habits for the future when they will hopefully become regular cyclists. Cycling to school also helps reduce congestion at the school gates.

“Cycling creates healthy exercise habits, reduces traffic and air pollution and helps children gain independence. It is particularly encouraging during my first Bike Week as Minister for Infrastructure to see so many people leaving their cars behind for the school run and getting on their bikes.

“Encouraging children to adopt healthy habits from an early age will help us strive to ensure they enjoy longer, healthier, more active lives. Giving our young people the best start in life and encouraging the use of active travel – aspirations all included in the Programme for Government – will help foster these habits.”

Declan Murray, Headmaster of St Colmcille’s said: “St. Colmcille’s Primary School, as part of our Healthy Schools Initiative, is very keen to take part in the ‘Bike it to School’ day on Wednesday 15 June.  The children and staff are always supportive of the Active School Travel Programme and are excited to show the newly appointed Minister for Infrastructure, Chris Hazzard, the ways in which we promote the message of active travel to and from school.”

Speaking at the school, Beth Harding, Active Travel Coordinator for Sustrans said: “Every day is bike to School day for St Colmcille’s Primary, and that is the aim of the Active School Travel Programme.  We are delighted to welcome the new Minister to the school on Bike to School Day to demonstrate how Sustrans has been successfully working with the school to increase the number of children cycling, scooting and walking.  After just one year in the programme, we are now seeing that many families are ditching the car and getting active on the school run.”

Bike Week is an initiative promoted by the Department for Infrastructure.  As part of celebrations, Bike to Work Day will take place on June 17 when cyclists are being invited to cycle from Queen’s University in Belfast to the City Hall where they can avail of a free cup of coffee and a breakfast snack before making their way onwards to work.

For details of other Bike Week events please check the Travelwise NI website https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/information-and-services/active-travel-and-sustainable-transport/cycling or your local council.

Notes to editors: 

All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office on 028 9054 0007.  Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.

Share this page

Back to top