British Cycling has today welcomed the Department for Transport’s announcement that £50m will be spent over the next four years to support Bikeability cycle training in schools.
The grant is one of a series of measures that the department will put in place to improve safety on British roads, and follows the announcement last week of a new sport strategy - Sporting Future - from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport which emphasised the importance of ensuring that children are given the opportunity to get involved in cycling and be active from a young age.
Since its inception, more than 1.5m school children have received training through Bikeability, which teaches young people the necessary skills to ride on today’s roads while encouraging them to be healthy and active.
Nick Chamberlin, British Cycling’s cycle training manager, said:
“There can be few parents who don't want their children to have the freedoms earlier generations enjoyed. There is a strong link between children's happiness and their ability to travel independently and Bikeability gives children the tools and the confidence they, and their parents, need to allow them to get around safely by bike.
“It is encouraging that the Department for Transport recognise that if learnt at an early age, proficiency in cycling can equip young people with the skills, confidence and inspiration to keep fit and active throughout their lives.
“This announcement is an excellent start towards ensuring that our schoolchildren can reap the benefits of having an effective cycling provision as a cornerstone of our education system.
“Bikeability, along with our own Go-Ride programme, has delivered a positive, meaningful impact in building children’s confidence and encouraging them to get into cycling. With the support of Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Education, I am sure that Bikeability has a secure future and that both initiatives will remain vital components in ensuring that all children have the opportunity to learn to ride a bike.”
Among the other road safety measures announced by the Department for Transport today is a consultation on ensuring that side guards remain permanently fitted to HGVs. The penalty for motorists who endanger lives by using their hand held mobile phones while driving will increase.
British Cycling’s campaign manager, Martin Key, said:
“British Cycling’s ten-point #ChooseCycling plan has outlined what needs to change to make Britain a true cycling nation. Making HGVs fit for use on the roads is a big part of this, so the new measures announced by the Department for Transport are very welcome.
“If more people are to take up cycling as a means of travel, this needs to be part of a package of measures and included in a proper strategy led by government. There is still much work to be done before Britain reaches the levels of countries such as the Netherlands and Denmark when it comes to cycle safety, principally the construction of segregated cycle lanes on busy routes to completely remove HGV danger from roads.”