CycleStreets app should be promoted in school

This article was published in 2019, in Magazine 145.

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In response to the interesting articles about cycling to school in the Autumn Camcycle magazine, I’d like to ask the following question: how do we persuade secondary schools to get their pupils, especially new ones, to put the CycleStreets app on their phone? The move to secondary school should be a prime time to get those who’ve not been cycling to school to do so.

I had an interesting experience on the first day of the autumn term for many schools. I was just chaining up my bike on the Addenbrooke’s site when a lad in uniform asked me if I knew where Coleridge Green was. Which I didn’t. From further conversation it transpired he’d cycled from Harston and was due to start at his new school, St Bede’s. He knew he had somehow to navigate Addenbrooke’s after coming off the Busway spur but had become utterly lost.

I ended up unlocking my bike and buddying him back to the bottom of the Busway and thence onto Long Road by what I felt was the most appropriate route onto Mowbray Road. I also showed him an alternative way to get back to the Hills Road/ Long Road junction when heading homewards by getting off, using the crossing by Glebe Road and going up Glebe Road, as that seems much safer and more convenient to me. I suggested to him that longer term he might prefer Wulfstan Way and Walpole Road. Actually when I got to my desk and looked, he’d have been better off taking the Busway to Long Road then going via Sedley Taylor Road and cutting through from there, avoiding Addenbrooke’s altogether.

I recommended CycleStreets to him. He’d never heard of it. As he’s clearly going to become a Cambridge cycling teenager, I’d say he’s an ideal candidate to find CycleStreets massively useful. As far as I know, you can ‘save’ a journey so you don’t need to use data when out and about but can research it when on WiFi and save it for later; of course not being up to such technology myself, I still use a computer and print out a map!

How do we get the schools to know about it and suggest to their pupils they might find it a handy tool to improve the safety and efficiency of their mobility?

Heather Coleman