80,000 school children to receive cycle training in next 12 months
Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Communities and also in Local Government
80,000 school children to receive cycle training 'in next 12 months'
Transport Minister Rosie Winterton today announced that over £3 million would be dedicated to providing cycle training to nearly 80,000 school children by March 2009.
This funding is part of the £140 million package announced in January, which will give up to half a million ten to eleven year olds cycle training by 2012.
Cycling has a major role to play in the Government's drive to promote sustainable travel - 41% of all trips are less than two miles, a distance easily cycled in less than 15 minutes.
Bikeability training gives children and parents the skills and confidence to cycle safely on today's busy roads, enabling them to undertake short journeys, for example cycling to school.
Rosie Winterton said: "Encouraging cycling also encourages healthier lifestyles. Considering obesity now affects around one quarter of adults and 1 in 10 children, encouraging people to take exercise has never been more important.
"At the same time congestion is getting worse. If parents can be satisified their children can cycle safely they are more likely to let them use their bikes. And getting children cycling could even encourage their parents to dust off their own bikes."
The funding will support the new National Cycle Training Standard being promoted in England by Cycling England as Bikeability - the new cycling proficiency for the 21st century.
This training allows children to learn essential road safety skills and gain greater awareness of the dangers on the road - giving parents reassurance that their children are suitably equipped to use the roads and enjoy their bikes.
The training is also complemented by Cycling England's funding of links to school from the National Cycle Network and increases in secure cycle parking at schools.
Philip Darnton Chairman of Cycling England in supporting the DfT announcement said: "This is wonderful news for cycling. We are making real progress with the delivery of Bikeability training.
"We are now well on course to exceed the 100,000 additional training places promised to the then Secretary of State when Cycling England was set up in 2005 and the extra 500,000 training places the Department wants by 2012."
The funding package announced in January will also see an expansion of the cycling demonstration areas programme and an additional 250 links to schools connecting 500 schools via traffic calmed or traffic-free routes to the wider national cycle network as well as other programmes to promote cycling.