More than 1,500 children are now better equipped to cycle around Southend-on-Sea after completing Bikeability training during the last school year.
A total of 1,635 children aged 9-11 years took the Bikeability Level 2 training course, which takes place on local streets and teaches participants to deal with traffic on short journeys.
The course was first introduced in the Southend area in 2009, when 537 pupils participated. This year’s figures represent a 300% increase on that number.
Bikeability is the national standard for cycle training administered nationally by the DfT and delivered free of charge in Southend-on-Sea by the council’s road safety team.
60% of those who participated this year achieved all the outcomes of their training and were awarded a formal pass certificate. Southend council says those who didn’t pass will still have learnt skills that make them safer cyclists and have the opportunity to take part in summer cycling courses.
A subsequent survey of participants showed that 93% of respondents said they would recommend the course to others.
Councillor Tony Cox said: “At a time of increasing traffic congestion, challenges around asthma and childhood obesity, the importance of teaching our town’s children how to cycle safely has never been greater.
“I’m delighted that so many young people took up the opportunity to take part in this free training, which equips them with skills to stay safe on cycle paths and roads and helps grow a new passion for an activity keeps them fit, healthy and mobile.”