Changing Gears

What did we do

In 2020 Children in Scotland was asked by Cycling Scotland to explore children and young people’s views and perceptions of cycling and road safety. The project, called Changing Gears, offered 300 children and young people the chance to share their thoughts and experiences and shape future decisions about cycling across Scotland.

Contact: Elaine Kerridge, Children In Scotland (

The place is called:






Care Experienced8-12Better awarenessNationalRegional


What do you try to change?

Based on what the children and young people shared we made recommendations to Cycling Scotland about what they could and should do next.
– work with the Scottish Government, local councils and schools to make sure all children and families have access to bikes, cycling equipment and safe and nice local places to cycle (this includes cycle paths an trails).
– ensure children and young people are involved in this development going forward. Cycling has a key role to play in making sure that children’s right to health, play and leisure and having their voices heard are met.

We have been involved in meetings with Cycling Scotland and Transport Scotland about next steps – how to share the final report and with whom, especially in the run up to the Scottish Election in May 21.
Cycling Scotland is currently considering how to establish a national panel of young people to support their strategic direction.

  • evidence

    Tell us what you found out - what were people's experiences, views or ideas for change?

    Children in Scotland worked with the children and young people in 2 phases. Phase 1 involved 9 children and young people from across Scotland in a national co-design group. They met 5 times online in summer 2020 and completed activities and games to consider their priorities in relation to cycling. They also designed the activities for the activity pack for Phase 2 6 primary schools from 3 areas of Scotland took part in Phase 2. This involved 300 children with a range of interests and experiences. Children in Scotland then analysed what the children and young people shared and wrote a report for Cycling Scotland, explaining what the children had said and making recommendations for the future. What the children and young people shared about cycling can be summarised under 10 themes: Family and Friends, Place, Safety, Exercise and Health And Wellbeing, Fun And Enjoyment, Nature, Equipment (for cycling), Education And Learning, Infrastructure (roads and cycle paths) and Negatives. Not all children and young people like cycling or are able to cycle. Sometimes it can be the cost of bikes and cycling equipment that stops them from taking part. Sometimes it is fears over safety or a lack of nice and safe places to cycle such as well kept cycle paths and trails. Schools and programmes like the Bikeability programme can help some children and young people to take part in cycling more.
  • advice

    Tell us your advice on doing participation activities - what worked well, what you enjoy, what is inclusive?

    Children in Scotland staff enjoyed working on this project very much. It was a very positive experience working with Cycling Scotland and hearing from all the children and young people' about their experiences, opinions and perceptions of cycling, fun and safety. Due to COVID-19 we moved the first part of the participation work with children and young people online. We worked hard to make the activities fun and engaging such as the visual quiz 'Bike or badger?', and based these on the feedback from the participants. We are also very grateful to the schools that took part at such a challenging time. They are from a range of localities, with a range of lived experience, but the creative and fun activities in the resource supported all to engage e.g. quiz, memory test, class survey. The creative outputs from the pupils really helped us understand their wants and opinions e.g. create a cycle trail.

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