Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has today (Friday 9 April) announced £18m for cycle training across the country to ensure children and their families have the confidence to choose active travel, as the Government encourages everyone walk or cycle where possible.
The funding, which is managed by 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, children learn to:
- Develop early cycle handling and awareness skills (Bikeability Balance)
- Master pedalling (Bikeability Learn to Ride)
- Prepare for on-road cycling (Level 1)
- Cycle on single-lane roads and simple junctions (Level 2)
- Handle busier streets, complex junctions and roundabouts (Level 3)
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, from a weekend ride to commuting and taking the children to school. Today’s investment will help ensure children are road-ready on their bikes as schools and families prepare for the summer term.
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.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
“Cycling is 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 ease pressure on public transport as people return to normal life.
“But we know not all children, or parents, feel bike-confident. Today’s 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.”
Since its launch in 2006, more than 3.5 million children have taken part in Bikeability training, learning basic cycle handling skills, assessing risks and how to ride safely and confidently on the road.
Emily Cherry, Executive Director, 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 and competence to cycle.”
Pupils of all ages should 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.
For those who are driving, they should avoid sharing a car with someone outside of their household or support bubble.
Stories from our Bikeability champions
“I feel really happy and relaxed when I ride my bike, and it’s given me independence and freedom. “
“It really is a joy to watch our son Josh cycle with a big smile on his face and it brings a tear of happiness to our eyes.”
“Cycling gives you the freedom you need when the world around you is locking down – free your mind, free your body and free your soul-build confidence, strength and do your bit to save the environment!”
“Cycling has been our saviour this year, and feels like it was the only things that wasn’t cancelled.”
“These sessions provided an excellent foundation. It helped to improve our confidence cycling on the roads. Very well experienced, professional and friendly trainers.”
“Cycling is a real life skill. Something you only have to learn once and remember forever.”
“We started family bike rides at the start of lockdown2020 as a way of keeping fit, and sharing an activity that the whole family can continue to enjoy.”
“Giving them the skills to feel more confident on the road is a great step for both them, and myself.”
“Cycling for me is a way to get around; a way to exercise; but most of all it’s a way to have fun together as a family.”
“We went from “I don’t want to!” To “Mummy, can you take me on a bike ride around the estate please?” Her bike has got her away from too much screen time and gained fun, fresh air and exercise!”
“The children are so happy, they feel so accomplished and they are, rightly, so proud of themselves. And we’re so incredibly proud of them too.”
“Using a bike rather than taking the car helps reduce air pollution. We are giving children the skills to make that choice easier and safer”
“I am so unbelievably proud of them. Here’s to many more memories together as a family…on our bikes. Whoop Whoop!!”
“It has been a tremendous help to gain the knowledge to comfortably ride on roads in the correct way and with confidence. Look forward to growing our journey with you in the future.”
“I’m back cycling after a long break, I’m a bit rusty but got some wonderful hints and tips on this website”
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