How It Started
The growing numbers of children scooting to school presented a challenge for Dunbar Primary in the management and storage of scooters. Scooters were previously left lying on the ground, hooked onto fencing, scattered around the playground and generally presenting a hazard for the pupils in these areas.
Research with rack manufacturers failed to identify a cost effective way of storing scooters, the cheapest to buy and install being c. £600.
In an attempt to resolve the problem, the Dunbar Primary school janitor Ian Robertson (a retired joiner) designed and built scooter racks made from wood. He showed the finished racks to the School Travel Coordinator/Cycle Officer, Iain Reid who was very impressed with the 18-space scooter racks, their simplicity and cheap build cost and the use of wood in construction.
They were proving very popular at the school but the janitor was unable to commit his time to making any more for his or any other school.
The STC saw the potential benefits to other schools in East Lothian and wanted to build more and promote them to other schools in the area.
The challenge was to identify a person, group or organisation locally that could produce the racks, cost effectively.
Lothian Community Service was contacted. This Service operates whereby persons found guilty in the Courts of offending are ordered to undertake supervised community service work in their communities. After discussion it was agreed that this project would meet their criteria and the Service could provide the ‘labour’ to build the 18 space scooter racks at a nominal price of £50 to include all materials/labour and delivery costs.
The first scooter rack produced by this partnerhsip was installed at East Linton Primary School in June 2010 with the Janitor Ian Robertson and local pupils featuring in the local papers and thereafter the project was promoted and advertised to other schools.
There was also publicity to promote the scooter racks with the local newspapers and radio station East Coast FM, Sustrans, Eco Schools and the national School Travel Coordinator Network.
There has been interest from schools outside East Lothian.
The most recent development is Sustrans producing a Scooting to School Information Sheet (ST07), in May 2011, in which the scooter rack story is told along with the instructions in how to make your own and all the associated benefits of promoting scooting to school.
It is evident that once young children learn to walk unaided for many the next step is the scooter which allows them to travel independently and at a pace more suited to the adult, especially on the ‘school run’. This early experience of ‘two wheels travel’ exposes the child to health promotion/road safety education/independent travel and is the natural link to the next stage of active travel, cycling.
The East Lothian school’s response has been excellent with orders received and delivery made for 15 x 18 space racks, Dunbar Primary being one of the schools that ordered a further 3 racks!
In these difficult economic times this project ticks all the boxes, whether it is for cost, environment, physical activity, sustainable active travel promotion, community involvement and finally for cycle promotion.
Results and Impact
- The use of the scooter racks allows the schools to address a storage problem and manage the scooters in what has been for some schools a ‘health and safety’ issue in the playground
- For the Early Years and Nursery pupils, accompanying adults now leave the scooters at the schools in the knowledge that they are being stored an ‘managed’ with security in mind
- Scooting to school is seen as being on a par with cycling and is seen as being ‘valued’ by school management
- More pupils will want to scoot to school and it becomes accepted as the ‘norm’ to scoot and cycle to school thus encouraging the adult to leave the car on the school journey
- The janitor was the winner in the ELC Star Employee Awards in 2010 in the Innovation, Environment & Sustainability category
- Sustrans have produced a national Information Sheet (ST07) Scooting to School promoting the racks and benefits of scooting.(link below).
- Cycling Scotland staff filmed pupils arriving on bikes & scooters Dunbar Primary morning on a dreich November morning in 2010 when there were 160 cyclists/scooters! This appears on their website as a Cycle Friendly School case study (link below).
- East Lothian Council was the recipient at ‘Cycling Scotland’s’ National Conference in November 2010, of the ‘Broxap Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cycle Promotion’ part of which included the scooting project.
As a result of the scooter success, discussions have taken place and work is currently ongoing to build wooden bike racks based on the same design and in May 2011 there should be the first complete wooden cycle rack installed at a school.
Scooting plays a large part in active travel to school and clearly its popularity has contributed to the reduction in car use and the increase in active travel that East Lothian Schools have enjoyed in recent years in their promotion of School Travel Plans and active travel.
The Bi-annual Walk to School Week campaign has been fundamental in promoting the agenda for behavioural change and provides ongoing data on school travel trends.
In May 2005 WTSW car use accounted for 23% - Cycling was 2%
In Oct 2010 WTSW car use had reduced to 15% - Cycling (+ scooting) was 10%.
In the 2009 Sustrans National School Travel HUS Survey East Lothian Council was the top Local Authority in Scotland with 67.5% of pupils travelling actively to school.
This included 6.4% Cycling and 1.5% scooting.
What's next for the project?
Using the same design principle they have commissioned a prototype for the wooden bike racks and these will be ready and installed in a school by the end of May. The new wooden bike racks which will be very competitively priced at £40 for a 10 space rack.
These will appeal to schools where storage and costs are issues and also rural environments more suited to wooden structures.
The project receives enthusiastic support from the management of the Community Service staff who continue to supply the material and build the scooter and bike racks for East Lothian Schools at minimal costs and as cycling and scooting numbers continue to rise, support in the management and storage of the bikes can be provided very easily thus taking at least one perceived ‘barrier’ to this great way of promoting physical activity.
Latest Development – 13th May – A Kings Meadow Primary school has approached the school to see if they can come up with a similar design for skateboard storage. About a dozen pupils are bringing their skateboards to school and their storage is an issue. The school are keen not to discourage active travel but need to address the storage issue. Rather than build something and present it to the school they are going to run a ‘design a skateboard rack’ competition with the pupils and the winning design will be made using my ‘team’. The pupils will be given a design brief that will be similar to the scooter/bike racks with wood and screws and a simple easily replicated structure. Watch this space…….
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Lead Contact Name
School Travel Coordinator/Cycle Officer
East Lothian Council
John Muir House, Haddington, EH41 3HA
John Muir House
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