Minister in tandem with locals launches Smarter Travel and Kilkenny Bike Week

A FUN and active family day is set to take place on June 23 in Kilkenny City, thanks to the Smarter Travel Kilkenny working group.

A FUN and active family day is set to take place on June 23 in Kilkenny City, thanks to the Smarter Travel Kilkenny working group.

Bike Week will start on June 18 and conclude with a day of family fun on The Parade with Smarter Travel activities for all to enjoy.

The ‘Smarter Travel’ initiative aim is to encourage people to get around by walking, cycling, using public transport and other forms of sustainable transport. It’s about encouraging people to change everyday journeys so to use physical activity instead of the car to get to school, work, the shops or visit friends.

There has been extensive ‘Smarter Travel’ work undertaken during 2011/2012, including a survey of 2,300 children and adults in Kilkenny on behalf of the Borough Council. The Centre for Health Behaviour in Waterford Institute of Technology found that levels of walking for transport are particularly low in children compared with the 1980s. Currently in Kilkenny, 32% of children walk to school, compared with 45% in 1980. Over 50% are driven to school and 13% take the bus.

WIT also ran an Active Travel Project with Loreto transition-year students. The students undertook a range of projects, including a survey of 643 pupils that revealed that only two cycled to school. The students will be on hand on the Parade on June 23 to illustrate their findings. The first-years’ Active Travel Art Project will also be on display so the public can view large formats of posters drawn by first-year secondary school students from around the county.

Under the chairmanship of County Council director of services John Mulholland, Kilkenny’s Smarter Travel committee has representation from Kilkenny Borough Council, Waterford IT, Kilkenny Sports Partnership and the Health Promotion Department of the Health Service Executive (HSE) and has been working to ensure that Kilkenny becomes a ‘Smarter Travel’ City.

The group is appealing to the people of Kilkenny to get on the walking shoes and get on their bikes and enjoy the benefits of being free of cars and petrol bills.