Bike safety scheme gears up to return
- Credit: John Morton
With Devon’s young people starting back at school and college on March 8 it’s time to gear up for Bikeability training and in doing so gain the confidence to get out and about on two wheels.
In my day the cycle training was delivered by the local police and took place in the school playground and at the end of the training you were presented with a cycle proficiency certificate and a badge to be displayed on your cycle ‘Knight of the Road’.
Devon is among the top six authorities in the country for delivering Bikeability training and in 2018 celebrated a milestone by training its 50,000th Bikeability trainee in the county. Over the past 12 years it has successfully bidded for over £3million to deliver cycle training in Devon.
Despite the Covid pandemic, Bikeability cycle training was still provided to more than 7,000 young people in Devon last year thanks to a successful bid by Devon County Council. Devon received a £280,000 grant through the initiative as part of the Government’s announcement of £13million funding nationwide for last year’s programme.
In all, Bikeability offers three levels of training, providing children with important cycling skills to gain confidence to help them cycle more safely and more often.
Devon County Council has now helped almost 90,000 young people to take part in the cycle training since 2006. They are among more than three million young people nationally who have undertaken the training.
Bikeability has always proven extremely popular in the county and an incredible amount of young people have taken part in the training where they gain essential skills and road safety awareness.
In Devon, child cycle casualties have decreased by 70% since 2007. We believe the high-quality delivery of Bikeability to children has been a major contributory factor in achieving this.
If those taking part in Bikeability make cycling a part of their daily life for getting to school or for taking regular exercise then not only does it benefit their health but it also benefits the environment, reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality.
Free two-hour cycle confidence sessions are also available to adults to either help them learn to ride a bike or brush up on their cycling skills. Sessions can also provide advice on suitable routes and offer tips for riding as a family.
And so looking at 2021/2022, we will be getting ever closer to the 100,000th Bikeability trainee and with Government suggesting that there will be a rise in both overall funding and also per head levels this is welcome news and goes another step further in ticking so many boxes especially for Devon to become net-zero carbon by 2030.
For more information go to the Bikeability website https://bikeability.org.uk/