Almost twice as many primary school children are receiving cycle safety training in Liverpool, compared to the national average.
Olympic Champion Chris Boardman MBE has been in Liverpool to find out about the city’s major success in delivering cycle training for young people over the past year. More than 70 per cent of primary school age children are receiving Level 2 training through the national on-road cycle training programme, Bikeability, against a national average of 40 per cent.
And Level 3 Bikeability training has been delivered to over 1,000 secondary age students over the past year – more than anywhere else in the country.
Chris visited Rice Lane Junior School to meet pupils, staff and Bikeability trainers and learn more about their work to create the next generation of cycle ready young people in Liverpool.
He said: “It’s really important that young people are given cycling training as early as possible, so it’s wonderful to see Liverpool schools achieving such great things through the Bikeability programme.
“It was really good to meet local pupils and find out how much enthusiasm they have for the sport. Cycling is a brilliant way of getting about, a fantastic form of exercise and a lot of fun, and the fact that record numbers of youngsters are now becoming cycling proficient bodes well for the future.”
During his visit, Chris saw a Bikeability course – managed by the Merseyside Transport Partnership and delivered by local company BikeRight! – in action, with Rice Lane pupils learning their road riding skills. He also added his support to a national campaign for cycle training to be included in the primary school curriculum, and to be seen as a life skill equivalent to swimming.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Councillor Tim Moore, said: “Our schools are doing a fantastic job in creating the next generation of cycle-ready young people and their dedication means we are now outstripping the rest of the country in providing cycle training at an early age.
“The Bikeability programme is invaluable in giving young people a really vital skill which will last them a lifetime, and it’s supporting the wider work we are doing to promote sustainable transport, and make Liverpool a safe city for cyclists of all ages.”
Headteacher at Rice Lane Junior School, Margaret Rowlands, said: “It was fantastic to welcome Chris to our school so we could show him the progress our pupils are making in cycling.
“We have been involved with the Bikeability scheme for over three years. It is very popular with the children and parents and ensures the children are confident cyclists who are aware of road safety. We feel it’s a really important addition to our curriculum.”
BikeRight! Managing Director Liz Clarke said “Merseyside is leading the way in training the next generation of cyclists. Once children become experienced road users, the impact continues into adulthood on their health and prospects for getting to work or education. Every child deserves to have access to this important lifetime skill.”
There has been further good news for schools on Merseyside, with the announcement that the region has been granted £460,000 from the Department for Transport to deliver cycle training in schools for 2013/14 – the highest amount in the country.
It will enable 11,500 more Merseyside school students to receive Bikeability training, Levels 1, 2 and 3, and will also allow the region to build on its success over the past year of delivering training to 296 young people with special needs, at 23 different schools.
Councillor Liam Robinson, chair of Merseytravel, said: “We support any activity that makes children safer on the roads, whether as a pedestrian or a cyclist. We are delighted that this new grant will give 11,500 more Merseyside school students the chance to receive on-road Bikeability training.
“It will enable us to build on the fantastic success that has been achieved in cycling over the past year.”