Following a successful pilot, the DfT has announced the launch of ‘Bikeability Plus’, a suite of additional cycling activities and extra training based around the core Bikeability course.
Announced yesterday (6 March) by Robert Goodwill, cycling minister, Bikeability Plus aims to teach safe riding to young children and encourage families to cycle. It also covers basic cycle maintenance.
The £5m to be invested in Bikeability Plus is part of the wider £50m Bikeability funding for 2016 to 2020. Schools will be able to offer the new training to pupils from the new academic year in September 2016, and will be able to tailor it to ‘meet local challenges’.
Alongside safety, the training involves introducing four to five year olds in reception classes to balance training. Older children will be shown how to fix and maintain their bikes themselves.
There will also be a focus on highlighting to children and parents from disadvantaged communities the ways in which cycling can be a healthy and affordable way of getting around.
The Government says that in the 18 areas across England where Bikeability Plus was piloted in the first half of 2015, 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 £5m funding will allow the scheme to reach an additional 200,000 children.
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 1.5m children to cycle since 2010.
“This new training will help children, including those from disadvantaged communities, to experience cycling for the first time.”