- Further £13million government investment in Bikeability cycle programme to help children become confident cyclists
- Investment comes as cycle training scheme celebrates teaching 3 million youngsters key bike safety skills
- The Government’s long term ambition is for cycling and walking to become the natural choices for shorter journeys, or as part of longer journeys
More schoolchildren across England will now learn essential cycling skills, thanks to a £13 million Government investment in Bikeability – topping off a record year for the cycle training programme.
Bikeability training is offered at three levels, based on a child’s age and experience. Skills taught start with basic bike-handling in a controlled traffic-free environment, and build so that children can manage a variety of traffic conditions on different types of roads.
In the year up to April 2019, around 400,000 children completed the scheme, and the total number of children trained since Bikeability was launched in 2007 has now reached three million.
The funding will ensure that the programme is able to continue for another year, and so that approximately 50% of primary schools across England will be able to access the programme.
Children who cycle regularly are more likely to become active adults, who are confident and safe cyclists.
Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, said:
“Cycling and walking are great forms of exercise, helping to reduce child obesity, and boosting people’s physical and mental health.
“I am delighted to see Bikeability has now supported three million children to take to their bikes safely and confidently, kick-starting a lifetime of cycling for them.
“I hope that the £13 million investment announced today will help them continue to train millions more young cyclists over the coming years.”
Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education, said:
“The benefits of cycling to school go far beyond providing an active and fun way for children to get to school. Cycling cuts carbon emissions and traffic levels outside of schools by taking cars off the road.
“The Government’s Bikeability scheme gives young people the knowledge and confidence they need to cycle safely, providing peace of mind to parents, pupils and schools and I’m so pleased that we’re able to invest this new money in the programme – it’s an investment in our future.”
Jo Churchill, Public Health Minister, said:
“The extension of this scheme is a vital step in encouraging more children to be active. Physical activity has so many health benefits for our children – it keeps them fit and healthy, strengthens muscles and bones, increases self-esteem, and improves concentration and learning in school.
“As part of our prevention green paper, we set out our ambition to promote more active travel. Building activity into the school run is one of the many ways to do this and the Bikeability scheme will help more children stay active every day. What’s more, its fun!”
Paul Robison, Chief Executive Officer of the Bikeability Trust, said:
“We are delighted that DfT funding for Bikeability in 2020/21 has been confirmed. High-quality cycle training enables confident and enjoyable cycling, raises awareness of skilful cycling among all road users, and contributes to better transport, health and wellbeing.
“Children love Bikeability and parents value the training their children receive. Independent research confirms Bikeability helps children cycle more safely, more often.”
Dr Karen Exley, Group Leader of Air Pollution at Public Health England, said:
“Cycling is a great way of cutting congestion by encouraging people to get out of their cars on short journeys such as the school run.
“It will help to reduce idling outside schools, which will improve air quality where children congregate, and increase the amount of exercise young people take.”
As well as this, the government has recently provided £22 million to create traffic free cycling and walking routes, improved signage, road crossings and accessibility (for mobility scooters, wheelchairs and adapted bikes) as part of a programme of upgrades for the National Cycle Network and over £7 million to local authorities so that they improve cycle safety at dangerous junctions.
These improvements are part of the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy which outlines a range of government actions to double cycling and increase walking by 2025.
The Government’s long term ambition is for cycling and walking to become the natural choices for shorter journeys, or as part of longer journeys. Almost £2 billion is projected to be invested in active travel between 2016/17 and 2020/21. This is a three-fold increase in investment per head since 2010.