The retailer Halfords is to give around £1m to the Bikeability scheme to enable an additional 25,000 primary school children in England to receive cycling training. The 40-month agreement between Halfords and cycling training charity the Bikeability Trust was announced by transport minister Jesse Norman at the Cycle City Active City conference in Manchester last Friday.
Norman said: “This extra money will expand Bikeability so that more children can cycle safely and confidently on local roads, and we welcome the new partners Halfords, which will provide additional funding for a further 25,000 Bikeability training places.
“The benefits of cycling and walking are enormous. For people, it means cheaper travel and better health. For businesses, it means increased productivity and increased footfall in shops, and for society as a whole it means lower congestion, better air quality, and vibrant, attractive places.”
At the end of 2015 DfT pledged £50m for Bikeability over a four-year period up to 2019. According to the DfT, it costs £40 for a child to receive cycling training.
DfT said that in 2016/17 Bikeability provided 350,000 training places for primary school children, but could not give figures for 2017/18: “These figures are still being compiled,” said a DfT spokesperson.
The cycling training programme is based on the government’s national standard for cycle and instructor training. Beginners initially ride in traffic-free environments before progressing on to local roads to learn how to negotiate busier, multi-lane roads and complex junctions. ?Graham Stapleton, chief executive at Halfords, said: “We are delighted to partner with the Bikeability Trust, and we are really proud to be able to help 25,000 more children to discover the joy of riding a bike. Safe cycling unlocks confidence and encourages daily activity. By helping more children cycle more safely and more often, families will be inspired to get out on their bikes.”
A YouGov report commissioned by Halfords revealed 56% of parents want cycling safety added to the National Curriculum so that all children are trained to cycle “competently, confidently and proficiently' on the roads”.
The research also found that 33% of parents think there should be a special cycling highway code for children; 60% of parents support the proposition of more money being pledged towards cycling safety for children, even if it is at the expense of other services; 35% of children learnt to cycle while at primary school; and 12% of British families with children under 12 have at least one family member who doesn’t know how to ride a bike.
Halfords said it will provide free bike safety checks for every child taking part in a Bikeability programme, as well as for their parents, teachers and trainers.
The Bikeability Trust’s chief executive Paul Robison said: “Working with Halfords will give us the chance to extend our scope, to reach thousands more children and help raise awareness of cycling as an essential life skill.” ?
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