Project EDWARD

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On Wednesday 19th September, road safety awareness will be highlighted as part of Project EDWARD (European Day Without A Road Death).

If you were wondering what this is all about, then we can tell you quite simply. It is about bringing people together from across Europe (and beyond) with the common goal of saving lives. Project EDWARD is ‘European Day Without A Road Death’.

The campaign, launched by TISPOL in September 2016, has been widely supported by the European Commission as part of the European Mobility Week, and by road safety teams across the UK and beyond.

Last year’s results of TISPOL’s Project EDWARD reported that the UK was one of 15 countries who reported zero fatalities. Unfortunately, however, there were 43 deaths on the day across 31 countries in Europe. This compares with 70 fatalities on the same day in 2015 before Project EDWARD was launched. 19 countries recorded zero fatalities.

The overall aim of Project EDWARD is to have one ‘European Day Without A Road Death’. It is believed that it is something every individual across Europe, and beyond, can understand and aspire to, and here at @SaferRoadsLeeds we actively support and promote this initiative. So, we are spreading the word about how you can play your part in making zero road deaths a reality. We are encouraging you to take the Pledge and change your behaviour when using the roads.

The good news is that the UK’s roads are reported to be amongst the safest in the world, but even so last year 2203 people were killed or injured on the roads in Leeds alone. That’s approximately 42 people per week or 6 per day.

We understand that no-one sets out to be involved in a collision, but they happen. And the majority of these collisions are due to us making mistakes either consciously, or unconsciously. One problem is that we get complacent and believe it won’t happen to us. We fall into the trap of picking up bad habits and pretty quickly, some negative aspects of what we do on the roads become normal, and the more we get away with these things, the less risk we attach to them.

There are some road users who sometimes knowingly put others at risk by speeding, drink-driving, not wearing a seat belt, using the phone while driving, using vehicles they have not kept roadworthy, parking their cars on bicycle lanes, blocking pedestrian crossings, not turning on their lights or engaging in risky manoeuvres. These are the behaviours that we want you to address and pledge to change.

There are things you can do to help make the roads a safer place. Simply reminding friends and family to wear their seatbelt is such an easy way to help save a life; or not having your mobile phone in view when driving to prevent you being tempted to look at it.

Remember, never be embarrassed about asking tDl_4fbfXsAEI6HIhose you are travelling with to put their seatbelt on, or to ask them to stop talking if you are finding it hard to concentrate. The reaction you may get might not always be positive, but at the end of the day YOU as the driver are responsible for keeping your passengers safe.

Final note

It’s not just drivers who are at fault. Cyclists and pedestrians may also increase their risk levels by choosing to ignore the rules or look for risky short cuts. In the days leading up to the Project EDWARD day, it is important that all road users think – even for a few short minutes – about the risks they face, the risks they may pose to others and how they can go about reducing those risks.

Everyone can make a Pledge to make the roads a safer place.

Make you pledge

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The Schools Yorkshire Tour – One incredible journey and achievement

On Tuesday the 3rd July 2018, pupils from Brownhill Primary School and St. Augustine’s Catholic Primary School in Leeds rode the last leg of the Schools Yorkshire Tour, and brought the 400-mile cycling relay across Yorkshire to a close. 

As the pupils rode into Millennium Square to hand over the baton to the Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Graham Latty, Welcome to Yorkshire’s Sir Gary Verity and Leeds City Council’s executive member for children and families Councillor Lisa Mulherin. They were greeted by a huge welcome from children who had taken part in the Schools Yorkshire Tour, as well as the awaiting TV crew from Look North.SYT blog 1

Building on from the success of the Leeds Schools Cycle Challenge the Influencing Travel Behaviour Team wanted to capture this interest and use it to show how cycling can be made to be a part of everyday life, and help communities promote cycling as a sustainable mode of transport. The Schools’ Yorkshire Tour was developed on the back of this success.

The overall aim of the Schools’ Yorkshire Tour was to encourage more young people to take up cycling, by promoting cycling as a fun and ‘cool’ method of transport. As a result increasing the number of pupils cycling safely to school on a daily basis whilst improving the health of children and therefore reducing congestion outside schools and improving air quality.

Cycling to and from school is a great way for children and parents to incorporate physical activity into their day. Cycling allows children to travel quickly and independently through their local areas, providing not just autonomy and a learning experience, but a daily sense of achievement.

SYT blog 4The Schools Yorkshire Tour is the ideal event to show children, parents and schools that commuting to school by bicycle is a realistic option. By planning safe routes from school to school it will help people realise that they can cycle around their local areas and communities safely by using new and existing cycling infrastructure.

The tour started in North Yorkshire and passed through East Riding, York, Doncaster, Rotherham, Sheffield, Barnsley, Wakefield, Kirklees, Bradford and Calderdale before ultimately finishing in Leeds with a massive celebration event at Leeds Civic Hall which was attended by representatives from each school which has taken part. The children from participating authorities were wowed by Danny Butler as he performed his Extreme Mountain Bike Stunt Show.

The young cyclists were also able to meet Brian Robinson BEM who was the first Briton to finish the Tour de France and the first to win a Tour stage, at the welcome event. TheSYT blog 2 children were excited to get Brian Robinson BEM to sign their Schools Yorkshire Tour t-shirts, which they will keep as a momentum of their amazing achievement.

The final stage of the Schools Yorkshire Tour saw pupils travel down City Connect’s new section of the Cycle Superhighway, providing a cycle route protected from traffic between Seacroft and the city centre.

The tour was organised by Leeds City Council, in partnership with the Participating authorities across Yorkshire. Other Partnerships included Welcome to SYT 4Yorkshire, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Sustrans and PWLC Projects, and was supported by YPO, Streetbikes, The Works Skate Park, Child Friendly Leeds, Active Schools Leeds and West Yorkshire Police.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive member for children and families said:

“The Schools Yorkshire Tour welcome event will give the children who’ve taken part a chance to meet and celebrate what they have achieved.

“As well as gaining valuable cycling and road safety skills, being part of an event like this shows the children and young people that cycling is a fun, healthy and accessible mode of travel, and will hopefully encourage everyone to cycle more often.”

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning said:

“Our sustainable travel team have done a fantastic job pulling this tour together with all our partners from across the region. By working together we can encourage more young people to take up cycling both as a fun activity but also as a way to get to school. Increasing the number of pupils who cycle safely to school is a key priority and helps to reduce congestion outside the school gates, which in turn helps improve air quality for all our residents.”

Sir Gary Verity DL, Chief Executive at Welcome to Yorkshire said:

“These young cyclists deserve a celebration after playing their part in a fantastic event which has brought together children from right across the county. I’ll be delighted to see them cross the finish line and am really looking forward to judging the imaginative entries of the ‘bling a bike’ competition.

“I hope the Schools Yorkshire Tour – as well as races like the Tour de Yorkshire and 2019 UCI Road World Championships – will inspire children to keep riding and enjoy the many health, social and environmental benefits cycling brings.”

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said:

“Instilling a love of cycling in children from a young age has long-lasting benefits, encouraging independent travel as a teenager and creating good habits for an active adult life.

“Through our CityConnect programme, the Combined Authority is working in partnership to make cycling and walking a viable option for all residents – regardless of age or ability – by delivering new and improved infrastructure, such as the Cycle Superhighway, and through initiatives such as our Bike Friendly Schools scheme.

“From tackling physical inactivity and obesity to reducing congestion on our roads and improving air quality – more people travelling by bike or on foot benefits us all.

One Proud Dad said:

“Seeing the schools embrace the idea and give not only those competing but all children time out the classroom to get involved was just brilliant to see. Inspiring children to keep healthy and through sport is such an important thing to be promoting.”

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Are you feeling inspired by the Schools Yorkshire Tour to do more cycling this summer?

Feel free to share you cycling adventures on our @SaferRoadsLeeds Twitter page.

Follow this link for tips on how to plan your cycle routes and how to incorporate cycling into your everyday routine.

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“Are we there yet?”. How to survive summer travel

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With all this wonderful weather we’ve been having, you’re possibly starting to plan some family adventures, pack up the car and head out to the beach or to enjoy a picnic with friends or family. Whether you are going on a long road trip or just hoping for a few days out over the summer holidays, sometimes travelling with kids (and adults) isn’t as much fun as you imagined. summer 1Long journeys can be challenging, but they are doable, and can be memorable. However, a little bit of planning beforehand may just help save your sanity.

No one wants a summer holiday to be remembered for the wrong reasons. We want our children to have great memories to go back car tripto school with and share with their friends.

Planning your perfect road trip can be a stressful and exhausting ordeal, but Leeds City Council’s ITB team is here to help. Here are some practical tips on how to make your journey as successful as possible:

Preparation

    • Is your car road ready? Highways England recommend carrying out a few quick and easy checks to ensure you and your vehicle are safely equipped to drive.
    • Follow this link on what to check the week before your journey
    • Just a little point to consider – do you have breakdown cover? If not…. do you need it? And if you do…have you got the number to hand?
  1. Your safety
    • Firstly, always make sure you are well rested before travelling and have had a good night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation can contribute to frazzled nerves and unsafe driving. It’s helpful if your children are also rested at the start of the trip
    • Never drive when under the influence of alcohol or drugs (including prescribed medication). If you need to visit your GP before travelling, make sure you have allowed plenty of time to do this.
  2. Route
    • Sounds a silly question but ‘Do you know where you’re going?’ (winging it sounds fun…. but I’ve heard from a reliable source that says it rarely is!)
    • If you’re using a Sat Nav make sure it’s up to date and that you are able to charge it. Try having a backup in case it fails – you can always print out a copy of your route from Google maps and it would also be wise to check the latest traffic conditions here .
    • Before you set off, plan your route. Why not identify opportunities for you to take a scenic (i.e. park or lake) break during your journey? This will not only benefit you, but it will help give your kids (or passengers) a chance to burn off some energy
  3. Distractions – driving requires the full attention of the driver at all times
    • Try and keep distractions to a minimum. Things like mobile phones and iPods are best placed in the glove box or boot
    • The biggest unavoidable distraction on a road journey is other passengers i.e. the kids.
  4. So……Be kid-prepared:
  • If you are driving with kids, give them plenty of planned activities to do, especially if your destination is a long way from your home
    • Before you hit the road, make sure you have any child car seats fitted correctly. Check out the new laws on car seats here and to see if you have the right size for your child.
  1. Keep an open mind
    • You might need a second route in mind if there are unexpected road works, breakdowns or accidents. If the weather is unexpectedly hot then you may also need extra comfort breaks

Are you having a Staycation?

Just one more point for those of us you aren’t going on holiday and who will be going about our normal routines – Watch out for the kids! They’re everywhere!alley-1836919_1920

I know what you’re thinking … that you’re a ‘good, safe driver’ but a little reminder won’t harm. Please take a little extra time to watch out for those children who aren’t going away on holiday, and who will be out and about with their friends, running, skating, scooting and cycling in the streets, parks and playgrounds. Unfortunately some may be too occupied playing with their friends and being away from their bossy parent to remember all the road safety training they’ve had.

cartoon_kids_playingThere are so many distractions affecting both pedestrians and drivers. As a driver make sure your distractions are out of sight and that you’re prepared for and looking for those pedestrians who forget to look when they cross the road, because of their hand held devices or excitement at having freedom. If you’re driving, you are largely responsible for their safety. A child doesn’t have a chance against a 3,000-pound (or heavier) vehicle in the street.

So with all this in mind, don’t forget your bucket & spade and sun cream and go have some fun. Have a safe and hassle free journey and we will catch you at the beach!

Cycling

Have you considered leaving the car at home and exploring Yorkshire on your bicycle? How about taking the family out on some of our fantastic local cycle routes and explore what Leeds and the surrounding areas have to offer?

summer 2Leeds City Council has loads of information on how you can safely get about on your bike over the summer. Follow this link for planning your family outing – there is information on cycle routes, city centre bike storage, cycle loans, bike maintenance and information about cycle to work schemes.

There are also interactive maps which will help you find those hidden places which you didn’t know existed. Follow the link to view cycle routes using City Connect’s interactive map or use the cycle journey planner to plan your route step by step.

Have a fun summer cycling and let us know what you get up to by following us and tweeting your sustainable activities @SaferRoadsLeeds.

Clean Air Day

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Clean Air Day

We all keep hearing the words ‘Clean Air’ and ‘Clean Air Day’ being mentioned, but who really knows what it’s about?

The ITB team will hopefully be able to provide the basics and give you some advice about how you can play your part in looking after the environment.

Clean Air Day on 21 June is a chance to find out more about air pollution, share information with friends and colleagues and take action. There are different ways to get involved and a range of free resources including toolkits for schools, workplaces, communities, youth groups and more on the Clean Air Day website which also has facts and tips on reducing air pollution outside and inside the home as well as FAQs on air pollution and health and how air pollution affects children.

Background

Did you know there are over 31 million cars on the road in the UK today? And each of these cars are driven, on average, about 12,800 km a year, amounting to an astonishing 400 billion km across the nation. That’s not all, there are also over 3.7 million vans in operation, travelling over 20,000 km each year and totalling 75 billion km every year (1).

While to some people driving is considered a necessity, as people either drive for work, commute or pleasure, it is important to understand that by using a car or van you are contributing to road traffic congestion (excess delays), physical inactivity, climate change and local noise and air pollution within our towns, cities and communities.

Air pollution is associated with a wide range of damaging effects including impacts on human health, personal satisfaction, economic performance and natural ecosystems.

What is air pollution made up from?

Air pollution comes from a range of sources, such as vehicles. The proportion of pollution that reaches us depends on the weather, the location, the time of day. Wherever you are, it is inevitable you’ll breathe in some of this pollution throughout the day.

There are lots of pollutants that cause harm but the main ones are carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide (others include ground level ozone, particulates, sulphur dioxide, hydrocarbons and lead). Each one of these pollutants come from a different source, and has different effects on our health.

The Global Action Plan for Clean Air suggests that motorised vehicles play a large part in increasing air pollution n and within the UK it is estimated that cars and vans are responsible for more than a quarter (£5.9 billion a year) of the total UK health damage costs from air pollution.

The health impacts

Did you know that we breathe 11,000 litres of air each day? This means the more polluted the air is, the more we breathe dangerous chemicals into our lungs.

Short-term effects include irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, and upper respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Others include headaches, nausea, and allergic reactions. Short-term air pollution can also aggravate the medical conditions of individuals with asthma and emphysema.

The long-term health effects from exposure to air pollution include chronic respiratory disease, lung cancer, heart disease, and even damage to the brain, nerves, liver, or kidneys. Continual exposure to air pollution affects the lungs of growing children and may aggravate or complicate medical conditions in the elderly.

Worryingly, exposure to air pollutants from motor vehicles is linked to around 40,000 early deaths and hundreds of thousands of life-years lost in the UK each year, with an average loss per person of life expectancy of approximately six months.

Did you know the associated annual health costs of these health outcomes have been estimated at between £22.6 billion and £71.3 billion?

So how much does each car and van contribute to the above total? It is estimated that the health cost of diesel cars is £258 per year, and with petrol cars its lower at £37 a year.

How does air pollution affect children?

Children are extremely vulnerable as they tend to breathe faster than adults, and their lungs are still growing.

Buggies and prams can often put children level with car exhaust emissions, and there can also be high pollution levels inside cars in which they’re driven to school, as cars stand bumper to bumper with their engines running.

If a child breathes high levels of air pollution over a long period, they are at risk of:

  • their lungs not growing and maturing properly
  • repeated infections, coughs and wheezing
  • lung conditions like asthma getting worse

They might also be at risk of:

  • developing asthma during childhood or as an adult
  • lung cancer, heart disease, and possibly even diabetes, when they’re older

So what can we do?

In many towns and cities, monitoring equipment has been installed at many points in the city. Authorities read them regularly to check the quality of air.

Councils are working hard to improve air quality by introducing clean air zones (a region that has regulations to limit emissions of gasses such as nitrogen dioxide), which restricts vehicles known to produce high amounts of dangerous pollution. And where traffic is contributing to poor air quality, the guideline says councils could enforce congestion charges within the clean air zone.

Parents / individuals

Encourage your family to use the bus, train or bike when commuting. If we all do this, there will be fewer cars on the road and less fumes produced.

If you choose to drive then avoid leaving the engine running whilst waiting in the car. Or, why not park away from the school and walk a short distance?

Using active travel has many other health benefits besides reducing air pollution.

Travelling to school

Schools should have an individual school travel plan (STP). This sets out how school leaders and staff can encourage safe and active travel to reduce air pollution round your school.

For example school can:

  • discourage the use of cars to bring children to school, and promote cycling, scooting and walking where possible
  • find and publicise safe walking and cycling routes that avoid heavy traffic
  • identify public transport for travel to school, extracurricular activities and school trips
  • make sure there is enough parking for scooters and bikes
  • discourage parents from parking outside the school gates
  • ask parents to turn off engines at the school gates (No idling)
  • create incentives and run competitions to encourage safer travel

Grab your free Clean Air Day schools toolkit, including lesson plans for Key Stages 1-3, stickers and posters, you’ll find everything you need to inspire your students to take action on air pollution.poster

Traveling to work

Clean Air Leeds is also promoting a 5 Mile Challenge (#5MileLeeds) encouraging people to swap car journeys for more sustainable modes of transport for at least a five mile stretch of their journey on Clean Air Day.

A social media campaign is also available for download via the website, encouraging the use of #CleanAirDay on Twitter and inviting people to join the Clean Air Day event on Facebook.

For information about how Leeds is addressing the problem of air pollution in the city, the Clean Air Leeds website has information on how individuals can get involved, what Leeds City Council is doing, the Clean Air Zone, myth busters and news. Follow Clean Air Leeds on Twitter @CleanAirLeedsCC and on Facebook.

As an employer, you can help by:

  • Spreading the word: share the air pollution guidance on the following pages and at www.cleanair.org.uk with your employees, customers and community.
  • Encouraging change: send out an employee call to ‘Leave The Car At Home’ for the day
  • Prompting people to try active travel, car sharing, or working from home.
  • Sharing best practice: inspire people, businesses and other employers to act by sharing how your organisation has successfully cut the air pollution it causes.

Work place toolkit

References

  1. Department of Transport (2006) https://www.licencebureau.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/road-use-statistics.pdf

The Schools Yorkshire Tour

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The first Schools’ Yorkshire Tour took place in June 2017, it was designed by the Leeds City Council’s Influencing Travel Behaviour Team to promote safe and sustainable travel to and from school.

The schools’ Yorkshire Tour

Following on from the Legacy of the Tour De France, when Leeds hosted Le Grand Depart in 2014, came the Leeds Schools Cycle Challenge (2014), also known as the mini Tour de France. This event brought with it a huge excitement and renewed passion for cycling, capturing the hearts and minds of the children and young people, as they were able to take part in a large scale cycle event.

Building on from the success of the Leeds Schools Cycle Challenge the Influencing Travel Behaviour Team wanted to capture this interest and use it to show how cycling can be made to be a part of everyday life, and help communities promote cycling as a sustainable mode of transport. The Schools’ Yorkshire Tour was developed on the back of this success.

The overall aim of the Schools’ Yorkshire Tour is to encourage more young people to take up cycling, by promoting cycling as a fun and ‘cool’ method of transport. As a result increasing the number of pupils cycling safely to school on a daily basis whilst improving the health of children and therefore reducing congestion outside schools and improving air quality.

Cycling to and from school is a great way for children and parents to incorporate physical activity into their day. Cycling allows children to travel quickly and independently through their local areas, providing not just autonomy and a learning experience, but a daily sense of achievement.

The Schools Yorkshire Tour is the ideal event to show children, parents and schools that commuting to school by bicycle is a realistic option. By planning safe routes from school to school it will help people realise that they can cycle around their local areas and communities safely by using new and existing cycling infrastructure.

The event

Children and young people from over 160 schools across Yorkshire will be taking part in the Schools Yorkshire Tour, where a cycling relay starts on 5 June to 3 July 2018 to celebrate national Bike Week.

The baton will travel 640 km (400 miles) from the start in Pickering North Yorkshire to its final destination in Millennium Square Leeds on Tuesday 3 July 2018.

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A baton will be passed by pupils from school to school and Local Authority to Local Authority along a pre-planned route across Yorkshire. In addition, there will be a variety of events planned at some of the schools taking part in the relay along the route and at historic locations.

The event starts in North Yorkshire and passes through, East Riding, York, Doncaster, Rotherham, Sheffield, Barnsley, Wakefield, Kirklees, Bradford, and Calderdale before ultimately finishing in Leeds with a celebration event.

The Grand Finale

A celebration event will take place at Civic Hall. This year the event will be presided over by The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Graham Latty, Cllr Mulherin, Executive Board Member for Children and Families, Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive Welcome to Yorkshire and Brian Robinson BEM.

As the children arrive at Millennium Square they will be treated to a cycle stunt show, whilst waiting for the cyclists from Brownhill Primary School and St Augustine’s Primary School to cycle into Millennium Square. The baton will be handed over to The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Graham Latty, bringing the second Schools Yorkshire Tour to an end.

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Mental Health Awareness Week

 

Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May), this year’s focus is on stress. Research has shown that two thirds of us experience a mental health problem in our lifetimes, and stress is a key factor in this. This blog aims to highlight the causes, the negative effects it can have on the mind and body, and how it can be relieved.

Stress is a word that many of us use when we’re feeling a bit overwhelmed or tired. We can all feel it, especially when we have a tough day or busy times.

In fact, did you know one in four of us experience some sort of mental health condition each year? So, the chances are most of us have some experience of mental health issues, whether that’s first hand or through someone we know – a friend, family member or work colleague. It can affect anyone, any age.

Research published by the Black Dog Institute found that physical activity, such as walking and cycling, has a positive impact on our mental (as well as physical) health, helping to alleviate – and even prevent – depression, stress and anxiety.

According to the Mental Health Foundation physical activity can:

  • Increase mental alertness – morning exercise wakes up not only your body but your mind, getting you ready for the day ahead
  • Increase energy levels
  • Promote a positive mood – exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, the ‘feel good hormones’
  • Improve self-esteem – exercise can make you feel more positive about yourself. As well as seeing yourself becoming fitter, you prove to yourself that you’re up to the challenge of, for example, riding to work and back. It can give you a sense of satisfaction and self-control that helps you withstand stress better
  • Reduce your levels of cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’
  • And it can help to prevent depression

However …..Often when we are too busy and feeling stressed, the last thing we feel like doing is exercise. But we need to start using physical activity as a method of stress reduction as it’s been proven to be one of the best stress busters that we have to hand.

Cycling – adults

We all know that too much stress isn’t good for us and that stress contributes to high-blood pressure, heart disease and lowered immunity. The truth is that making time to ride your bike when you’re not feeling yourself is most probably the last thing you fancy doing. But like many other forms of exercise, cycling can easily be incorporated into your daily routine, which will make it seem less like a chore and something that is a means of getting to where you need to be, with an added bonus of feeling a little bit brighter by the end of it.image.jpg

Cycling to work or cycling the school run can help you and your family meet the government’s recommendations of at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week. So all those little trips to school to drop your little ones off, or the commute to the train station or work, are all beneficial and add up as the week goes along.

What are the benefits of cycling?

    • Cycling as meditation: The repetitive action of pedaling involved in cycling can help your brain release outside stresses in the same way that meditating on a phrase or a word is used in classical meditation. By focusing on your pedal stroke you can block out other worries and stresses of the day, giving your brain a break from all of your daily problems.
    • Getting out into nature: Granted, commuting to work through busy traffic is anything but stress reducing, but when you find a quiet street to cycle on or a challenging hill to climb, you have the opportunity to be out in nature. Being exposed to the natural elements of cold or heat and feeling the wind is another way to release the stressful thoughts and focus on things outside of ourselves.
    • Getting better at anything increases confidence and can be a great mood lifter: Noticing those little improvements, like arriving a few moments earlier, feeling like you found that tough climb easier or finding that you are actually enjoying riding your bike are all great stress reducers because they allow you to feel that you have accomplished something. So much of our lives are simply repetitive tasks or tasks where we feel that that we have limited control over our own success. But when it comes to your bike you are in control. You know that if you work hard you will get better.
    • More enjoyment equals less stress: Whether you are the type of rider who likes to spend hours riding alone, or you love to meet up with others for the long, early morning rides to a local cafe, riding is more than exercise, it is fun. And, let’s be honest and not forget that cycling reminds of us being a kid, and brings back memories of when we rode our bike to get out of doing homework or on a big adventure with friends. So after a long hard day, don’t let stress keep you from riding, let it motivate you to ride and help put a smile of satisfaction on your face.
  • Keep active, keep a healthy weight – A healthy weight could be different for two people of the same sex, age and height because we all have different bone structures and muscle development. What’s important is that you feel healthy, self-confident and keep your body fat at the right level for you. The best way to maintain a healthy weight is to be active, cycling raises your metabolic rate, which can help to keep weight off. Moderate pedal-pushing burns up to 500 calories per hour, which is more than walking or swimming.

 

The simplest way to make cycling a habit is to go out and begin. There is advice on how to start cycling to work where you will find great tips on what you need and how to plan you routes.

Children

Mental health problems do not just affect adults, they affect about 1 in 10 children and young people too. The symptoms include depression, anxiety and poor behaviour, and can be a direct response to what is happening in their lives, whether it is family, school work or a social problem, but it can all seem like a huge issue when you are young and not yet learnt how to deal with worries or pressures.alley-1836919_1920

Most children love cycling – it’s fast and fun, and gives them confidence, freedom and independence to get around, the fresh air and excitement of the wind blowing in their hair is a good wake up activity. And you don’t need to wait until your kids are old enough to ride themselves to start enjoying the benefits of cycling as a family.Action_Outback-bicycle-trailer_family

As with adults children can gain benefits from cycling to school, as it is a great way to encourage children to get active, building confidence, gaining road safety skills and engaging with friends on their way to school. But, it is also a great way to kick start active travel and build up lifelong habits that will improve not only your child’s health but yours too.

Follow this link for tips on how to become a cycling commuter cycling to work

Follow this link for your free guide on how to look after your mental health by using exercise https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-using-exercise

The Importance of Wearing a Seatbelt

Save_Yourself_seatbelt_bannerHere’s a bit of history……

Can you remember when cars didn’t have seat belts?

The Department for Transport have been promoting the use of seat belts since 1973, long before it became compulsory by law to use one. Then in 1983, front seat belt wearing regulations for drivers and passengers (both adult and children) came into force. In 1989, wearing rear seat belts became compulsory for children under 14, and in 1991, it became compulsory for all adults to wear seat belts in the back of a car.

Any driver under the age of 30 will not even remember the change – they should have been wearing a seat belt from the moment they first sat in a car as a passenger.

The Evidence ……

Seat belts can mean the difference between life and death in a car crash. Wearing a seat belt every time you enter a vehicle is not only the smart thing to do, but it is the right thing to do because it saves lives. Seat belts are designed to keep people in their seats, and so prevent or reduce injuries suffered in a crash. They ensure that as little contact as possible is made between the occupant and vehicle interior and significantly reduce the risk of being thrown from a vehicle.

The Facts

  • In a crash you are twice as likely to die if you are not wearing a seatbelt.
  • Drivers and passengers aged 17-34 have the lowest seatbelt-wearing rates combined with the highest crash rates.
  • There is evidence that people are less likely to use seatbelts on short or familiar journeys – this puts them at serious risk of injury in a crash.
  • Seatbelts reduce the risk of death in the event of a collision by around 50%.

The Law

The law is quite clear on this subject. You must wear a seat belt every time you travel by car no matter where you sit in the car or how far you travel. If not, both the driver and passengers who are caught with no seatbelts (in the front or the back) are breaking the law and face an on-the-spot fine, and the risk of prosecution.

Just to make things even clearer, it is the responsibility of the adult passenger (not the driver) to make sure that they are using the seatbelt! For children under 14 years old it is the responsibility of the driver to make sure that they are wearing their seatbelts…however once the child is 14 years old it is up to logo-2013-webthem as passengers to take responsibility for wearing a seatbelt (although I’m sure a gentle reminder from the driver wouldn’t go amiss!).

Of course, there are (as always) a few exceptions* to the law. You’ll have to scroll down for these.

The excuses…..

We have all heard the excuses before, “Seatbelts are uncomfortable”, “I’m only going around the corner”, “I’d rather be thrown out of a car than be stuck in a seatbelt”, “I know these roads like the back of my hands” and, “I’m a good driver I don’t need to wear one”. NONE of these excuses are valid, the consequences are the same.

The majority of drivers would never dream of getting behind the wheel without a seatbelt on. You may be a good driver, but there are situations beyond your control that contribute towards a crash, such as bad weather, road conditions and the behaviour of other drivers or road users.

For those people who use the excuse that “I’m just going around the corner”, they need to know that 80% of traffic fatalities occur within a 25-mile radius of your home and at a speed of 40 miles an hour. Buckling up to drive around the block is probably one of the most important times to do so.

Is this happening in your neighbourhood…?

A recent survey was undertaken in and around a busy school in Leeds. The purpose was to observe and record how many people were or were not wearing a seat belt in the vehicles, the survey included drivers and passengers.

The traffic that was coming in and out of the school vicinity was monitored at various times during the day. School started at 9.00 a.m., and the road outside the school was very busy with lots of late arrivals dropping off at the school gates. There was also a high volume of local traffic along the road on which the school is located. The table below shows the results:

Time Not wearing Wearing
8.20 a.m. – 8.50 a.m. 31 207
8.50 a.m. – 9.05 a.m. 20 140
2.55 p.m. – 3.30 p.m. 51 190

This highlights just how prevalent not wearing a seatbelt was. It’s quite shocking to see that during the morning school run and in a period of less than 60 minutes, almost 13% of car occupants were NOT wearing their seat belts. Then, during the afternoon school run (only 35 minutes) over one fifth of car occupants were seen NOT wearing their seatbelts.

Final thought

This location has not been identified in order to highlight how easy it is for people to be seen not wearing their seatbelt and to remind people that all it takes is for the police to be undertaking a similar observation. You could then face a fine and/or prosecution. Or an even worse scenario – you could be involved in a road traffic collision and as stated previously the outcome isn’t that great for you or your passengers.

Evidence clearly shows that seatbelts DO save your life in a crash and can reduce your risk of a serious injury. Seatbelts keep drivers and passengers from being ejected through windows or doors. This is important because your chances of being killed are five times greater if you are thrown from the vehicle.

People DO die unnecessarily in car crashes every year, but some might still be alive today if they had only been wearing their seat belts. Everyone knows that car crashes can cause death; yet because people DO NOT buckle up, they are still willing to take the chance with their lives and that of their passengers.

The key message we are trying to get across is that wearing a seatbelt really could mean the difference between life and death – and that applies just as much to passengers as it does to drivers. seatbelt 1Putting a seatbelt on is a quick and simple task, and a very effective way of reducing the consequences of a collision. That’s why wearing a seatbelt is not a matter of personal choice, but is compulsory for drivers and passengers in every European country.

Links

Child car seats: the law

Seat Belts: Advice and Information Fact Sheet

Think video

Think video

* Exceptions to the law:

There are a few exceptions to the seatbelt law.

You don’t need to wear a seatbelt if you are a:

  • A driver who is reversing, or supervising a learner driver who is reversing
  • In a vehicle being used for police, fire and rescue services
  • A passenger in a trade vehicle and you are investigating a fault
  • Driving a goods vehicle on deliveries that is travelling no more than 50 metres
  • A licensed taxi driver who is ‘plying for hire’ or carrying passengers.

There may also be certain medical conditions that stop you from wearing a seatbelt, but your doctor must provide you with a ‘Certificate of Exemption from Compulsory Seat Belt Wearing’. You must keep this in your vehicle at all times and show it if you are stopped. You will also need to inform your car insurance provider.

You must wear a seat belt if you’re pregnant, or disabled unless your doctor says you don’t have to for medical reasons. You may need to adapt your vehicle, in some cases.

Follow this link for Medical exemption advice on wearing a seatbelt.