A fourth local school has joined Stirling’s popular bike share network, nextbike, run by charity Forth Environment Link.

St Modan’s High School, joins Bannockburn, Stirling, and Wallace, in the first school-based bike share scheme in the UK – making it free and easy for pupils aged 14 and over to bike to class.

The first three school stations were launched during Bike to School week in September, with the station at St Modan’s going live earlier this month, thanks to a £103,560 grant from Transport Scotland.

Forth Environment Link hopes the scheme will instil active travel habits that will last a lifetime.

Mairi McIntosh, Project Officer at FEL’s Stirling Active Travel Hub, said: “Active youngsters are much more likely to become active adults, so we’re making it as easy as possible for teens in Stirling to cycle more. The scheme gives them free access to a bike, whether for cycling to school or getting around the city. We’re also offering every pupil who signs up half a day’s cycle training and a voucher for a bike helmet to help keep them safe on the roads.”

The school bike share stations are an extension to the nextbike scheme which already operates in Stirling. Each school has 10 bikes, as well as access to the 160 bikes stationed across the city. Recyke-a-bike is responsible for the maintenance of the bike fleet.  The charity’s Active Travel Officer Carly Ramsay said: “We believe that access to safe, reliable and affordable transportation is fundamental in cultivating independence and empowering our youth to reach their full potential.  We are excited to be involved with the school expansion and our ability to play a part in providing our young people with a means of accessing new opportunities.”

Normally, nextbike memberships are only open to those aged 18 and over. Krysia Solheim, nextbike UK managing director, said: “It’s great to see a fourth school join the scheme. We know that if sustainable transport options such as cycling are adopted from an early age, it can help to form habits that last a lifetime and we’re hoping that’s what will happen in Stirling. It’s vital that we all start thinking about reducing our own carbon emissions, regardless of age. The scheme is free for pupils to join for the first 12 months and rides won’t cost them a penny if they keep their rental time under an hour.”

Forth Environment Link has had a fantastic response to the scheme, with more than 200 pupil journeys since the launch.

Convener of Stirling Council’s Environment and Housing Committee, Cllr Jim Thomson said: “Having St Modan’s High School join this UK-first project is fantastic news and another boost in our drive to encourage active travel across Stirling.

“Increasing the number of people cycling and walking in the city will help cut our carbon footprint and protect the environment, which will be vital as we tackle the climate emergency together.”

Vice Convener of the Committee, Cllr Danny Gibson said: “I am sure our young people at St Modan’s High will embrace the Bike Share scheme in the same way as pupils at the other three schools in Stirling.

“We are thrilled to be involved in this leading project, which gives our young people and school staff the opportunity to enjoy the health and educational benefits of cycling and help us create a sustainable Stirling.”