British Cycling welcomes £50m Bikeability investment

12.00 | 22 December 2015 | | 5 comments

British Cycling has welcomed the announcement that £50m will be spent over the next four years to help train and improve the safety of young cyclists across the country.

The grant, announced by the DfT yesterday (21 Dec) in its new road safety plan, will be invested into the Bikeability cycle training programme which aims to give school children the practical skills and understanding required to cycle on today’s roads.

The funding follows the announcement last week of a new sport strategy, Sporting Future, which emphasises the importance of ensuring that children are given the opportunity to get involved in cycling from a young age.

British Cycling says since its inception, more than 1.5m school children have received training through Bikeability, which takes trainees from the basics of balance and control, all the way to planning and making an independent journey on busier roads.

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 DfT 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 school children can reap the benefits of having an effective cycling provision as a cornerstone of our education system.”

Among the other road safety measures announced by the DfT is a consultation on ensuring that side guards remain permanently fitted to HGVs.

Martin Key, British Cycling’s campaign manager, 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 DfT 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.”



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    I think I commented initially, as I know only too well how much road safety budgets have been cut. To have so much money put into cycle training and then cut road safety budgets to the bone is hard to understand as these two educational programmes should go hand in hand! Cycle training is not the only part of road safety education, so why so much money for cycle training, important as it is, and then starve the other important parts of road safety education? I cannot see the logic!

    Mike Hancox MD Colan Ltd Warwick
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    The £50m is spread over 4 years so £12.5m each year will train up to 312,500 children p.a.. The £12.5m is an increase over the £11m budget in previous years, which is very welcome as demand often outstrips supply for places on this popular and effective training scheme. We strongly support Bikeability and believe it should be part of every child’s education. This is the ideal way to encourage the habit of cycling to school, work and for fun.

    The Bikeability grant currently provides £40 per child trained – which government allocates as a contribution towards the cost of training that does not necessarily cover the full cost, especially in rural counties where time and distance represent significantly higher costs. The grant of £40 per child has remained unchanged since its inception in 2007.

    Many authorities currently top up the grant funding to enable every child to attend the course free of charge, others ask parents to contribute. You will be aware that local authority funds are under ever increasing pressure making top-up funding ever harder to obtain so we await the details of the new allocations with keen interest.

    Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB
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    Thank you for your response to my question David. £50 million is a lot of cash, I presume this is on top of all the funding from previous years! It seems an awful amount of money just for cycle training even though I appreciate the importance. With this amount of money being provided, it should be free to all children not just the favoured few! At least in Suffolk you make sure no one child misses out because of the costs.

    Mike Hancox MD Colan Ltd Warwick
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    It is left to those who administer Bikeability schemes to decide whether to charge for the training. My own county of Suffolk makes no charge whatsoever, but others either make a token charge, or charge the full amount. Suffolk receives money for each child it trains and then has to pay the private companies who provide the majority of our training. I hope that this goes some way to explain where the money goes.

    David, Suffolk
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    Being in the road safety business, it is good news to see so much cash being invested into cycle training. Can anyone explain though where all this cash is spent, as Bikeability training is chargeable at school level? I have just paid around £30 for my grandson to do two parts of the scheme. There are many parents who cannot afford that sort of cash, so their children miss out on cycle training. If so much money is being invested, why is the Bikeability scheme not free of charge to all children who wish to take part?

    With Local Authority road safety budgets being cut to the bone, perhaps it would make sense not to put all our eggs in one basket!

    Mike Hancox MD Colan Ltd Warwick
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