Children and their families will be able to get cycle training to build their confidence via Bikeability training, which has been given an £18m funding boost by the Department for Transport.
The funding, which is managed via the Bikeability Trust charity, will go toward delivering high-quality, practical on-road cycle training as a modern day equivalent of the ‘cycling proficiency’ scheme many parents will themselves have undertaken during their school days.
Bikeability goes beyond the playground, teaching children to cycle safely on modern roads. At different levels of the scheme, children will learn how to:
For families looking to improve their confidence cycling together, local authorities can offer bespoke Bikeability Family training sessions with an instructor, to help them feel confident in a range of scenarios ranging from a weekend ride to commuting and taking the children to school.
Pupils of all ages are being encouraged to consider walking or cycling to school, especially if they live a short distance away from their school or college. For those who live further afield and who are using public transport, plan ahead, allow more time for journeys and follow safer travel advice, including wearing a face covering (unless under the age of 11 or you are exempt), social distancing where possible and regularly sanitising your hands.
Families who are driving should avoid sharing a car with someone outside of their household or support bubble.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Cycling is such a fun and healthy way for pupils to get to school, and we want as many as possible to make it their choice of transport. With social distancing still a necessity, the more people who walk or cycle, the more we can keep ease pressure on public transport as people return to normal life.
“But we know not all children, or parents, feel bike-confident. This funding will kick-start our plans to provide Bikeability training to all children by 2025, giving the next generation of cyclists a life skill and the confidence they need to choose a more active way to travel.
“Physical activity like walking and cycling is proven to have numerous benefits, both in terms of fitness, wellbeing and attentiveness in school, and research into Bikeability cycle training specifically also shows that, after taking part, parents were more likely to feel confident in allowing their child to cycle independently.”
Since its launch in 2006, more than 3.5 million children have taken part in Bikeability training, learning basic cycle handling skills, risk assessment, and how to ride safely and confidently on the road.
Emily Cherry, executive director of the Bikeability Trust, said: “The commitment of government to fund Bikeability in this next year is hugely welcomed as we seek to ensure that every child can access cycling as a life skill by 2025. This record investment will allow us to reach more children and, importantly, their families too, as a result of additional funding for our ‘Family’ module.
“Personally, I know the value of Bikeability cycle training for both children and their parents, having taken part in family training with my teacher husband and our children. Now, they cycle to school daily using the skills they learned from the training and, as a family, we continue to enjoy cycling together. Bikeability is the first step to ensure that adults and children alike have the confidence andcompetence to cycle.”
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