New cycle training with £5 million Department for Transport (DfT) funding to teach safe riding early, provide maintenance education and encourage family cycling has been announced by Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill today (Sunday 6 March 2016).
Pilots of the Bikeability Plus scheme in 18 areas across England have shown that the number of children who cycled to school at least once a week more than doubled to 10%. Nearly 20,000 children have already received the training and the £5 million funding will now reach an additional 200,000 more across England.
The programme also introduces 4 to 5 year olds in reception classes to balance training, so they have a fun, positive introduction to cycling as they start school. Older children will also be shown how to fix and maintain their bikes themselves - so they can keep on staying active and cycle safely.
A focus of Bikeability Plus is introducing children and parents in disadvantaged communities who might not otherwise cycle to the healthy and affordable way of getting around.
Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill said:
We want Britain to become a cycling nation and Bikeability Plus will be important in getting more children cycling safely and with confidence. There is no better way to make sure future generations of cyclists use healthy and green transport options. Bikeability has trained more than 1.5 million children to cycle since 2010. This new training will help children, including those from disadvantaged communities, to experience cycling for the first time.
The funding is part of the wider £50 million Bikeability funding for cycle training for 2016 to 2020. Details of this new £5 million element are now being announced and schools will be able to offer the new training to their pupils from September 2016.
The new elements allow schools and local authorities to tailor the training they offer to meet local challenges.
Between January 2015 and July 2015, Bikeability Plus was piloted in 18 areas across the country with individual areas piloting different combinations of modules based on local need.
The Bikeability training programme complements the wide package of support to increase levels of cycling. These include £114 million for 8 Cycling Ambition Cities in England for cycling infrastructure including segregated cycle ways. Highways England is investing £100 million to provide dedicated facilities for cyclists and walkers alongside and crossing the strategic road network.
The DfT is also providing £15 million for bike and rail in 2015 to 2016 to provide more than 7,500 new cycle spaces at rail stations across England.