Bright bike drive to make Sunderland children safer

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A COMPETITION is using art to get children on the right route to safety is under way.

As part of the Go Smarter to School campaign across Sunderland, pupils at Mill Hill Primary became the latest to get involved with the challenge, Bright Yer Bike, which saw them decorating their cycles and designing clothing to make themselves more visible when out cycling.

The competition followed a week of activity at the Doxford Park school, with the events organised by national cycling charity Sustrans through the Bike It project to encourage cycling, walking and healthy activity among young people.

Almost three quarters of the school children wore their own designed bright clothing, and more than one hundred specially decorated bikes and scooters were brought into school.

The competition was judged by ward councillor for Doxford, Elizabeth Gibson, and cabinet member for city services, Councillor James Blackburn, who said:

“Everyone was delighted to see the effort children, their families and the staff had made to ‘bright up’ their clothing, bikes and scooters.

“The competition was designed to be fun but also to carry a serious message that being visible on your bike or walking is very important on these darker mornings and nights and both these aims were achieved.

“Sustrans are one of our partners in delivering the aims of the Go Smarter to School campaign, which is to encourage more families to consider more sustainable transport options to get to school rather than always relying on the car.”

Prizes for the winners were presented at a special school assembly and included fluorescent helmets and cycle gloves for the top six brightest bikes and scooters, as well as fluorescent ankle bands and slapbands for the brightest dressed pupil from each class.

Mark O’Keeffe, Sustrans’ Bike It officer for Sunderland, added: “I was amazed at the huge numbers of children and parents who, despite the weather, came to school with incredibly decorated bikes and scooters and dressed in especially bright clothes.

“I was also very impressed that most of the staff at Mill Hill arrived in very bright gear from fluorescent vests to rainbow coloured legwarmers, and the whole school should be very proud of all their efforts.

“It was a wonderful event mostly thanks to the hard work and enthusiasm of the staff at Mill Hill Primary, and the funding and support provided by Sunderland City Council through the Go Smarter to School campaign.”

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho