Road Safety News
 

‘Bikeability Plus’ scheme launched by DfT

Monday 7th March 2016

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.”

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I am a Bikeability trainer and agree wholeheartedly with Rod King's comments. Bikeability has a lot of extra value over and above its initial appearance of cyclist training, and it is a superb cornerstone on which to build a lifetime's road use.

Sadly, we find that many children do well on the course but parents then still restrict their cycling to the pavement and thereby deny them the opportunity to build on their experience. Hopefully, Bikeability Plus will go some way to improving things in this regard.
David, Suffolk

Agree (9) | Disagree (0)
+9

Peter

As I understand it PTW users are all adults, have incomes, have made a choice to use a motor vehicle, have a legal responsibility to be trained, and are in motor vehicles which offer a real threat to pedestrians and cyclists.

Children, on the other hand, when exercising their right to independent mobility, only have the choice of walking, cycling or public transport, the latter of course involving an element of walking.

Whether PTWs are "losing out" is debatable, but to suggest that children and the allocation of training funds to children are somehow the cause of their woes and poor casualty rates is really not credible.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (6) | Disagree (3)
+3

Rod, based on latest casualty data re London motorcyclists are the most vulnerable road user. Based on number of journeys and mileage I would assume the same most vulnerable road user group.

I have to agree with you that child cycle training improves their understanding of traffic and benefits them as pedestrians and probably does them no harm when they learn to drive whether that be P2W or car.

This is DfT money and goes countrywide so the figures will differ wherever one looks but it does seem that P2W users are losing out.
Peter City of Westminster

Agree (6) | Disagree (5)
+1

I would ask that all car drivers ride motorcycles for ten years before being allowed to drive cars.

Most people have ridden bicycles since their formative years, beginning with a tricycle. Perhaps they should have X years experience on a tricycle before being allowed on a bicycle?

It seems to me the worst kind of behaviour comes from those with no respect for other road users. Less a case of inadequate practical training, more a case of inadequate mental attitude brought on by peer pressure and daring do.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (4) | Disagree (9)
-5

I would suggest that one of the best things to add to any new motorcyclists experience is 10 years of cycle riding before they get on a motorbike. What better way to learn how to use the roads, gain one's spatial acuity and understand the needs of vulnerable road users.

Bikeability also provides a great grounding for motorists as well. Developing and learning skills which will serve them well for the future.

So rather than bemoaning the spending of money on the most vulnerable on our roads, how about celebrating all the good that can come from such training for all subsequent modes that those children will use.

Who knows, with so much cheap and independent mobility coming from the bicycle, some children may never feel the urge to stop using their legs to get around.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (20) | Disagree (4)
+16

Can motorcyclists please have a £50,000,000 fund to learn how to ride properly and safely and how to change a tyre. Even just the £5 million fund would do for thousands of younger teenage scooter riders who lose their lives and suffer injuries round our towns on our streets. Some things doesn't seem to be equal sometimes.
R.Craven Blackpool

Agree (16) | Disagree (12)
+4