UK cycle training program Bikeability will receive record funding of £20 million (A$36.28 million) in government investment next year to increase access for the nation’s children.
Bikeability has trained more than 3.6 million children since 2007 and the Department for Transport (DfT) announced the record funding to “ensure even more are equipped with the skills, confidence and knowledge to cycle on our roads and have the opportunity to gain other essential life skills”.
The Bikeability Trust, the national charity for Bikeability, declared the elevated funding has “the potential to deliver half a million training places for children and their families, supporting even more people to introduce active travel into their everyday lives”.
The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, Trudy Harrison, delivered the keynote speech at the recent Bikeability annual conference and said “cycling helps both our planet and our wellbeing, and learning to cycle is also an important life skill”.
Earlier this year, DfT launched Active Travel England, an executive agency headed by former Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman, to spearhead in improvement in the quality of cycling and walking routes.
Apprenticeship for Cycling Instructors
In November, Bikeability endorsed an apprenticeship scheme for cycling instructors.
The program, operated by First Step Training, gives providers of the Bikeability program a new route to employ new cycling instructors.
It is designed to develop all the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to be a successful cycle instructor, including communication, leadership and practical skills.
The Bikeability Trust said the apprentice program supported the trust’s goal to offer cycling training to every child by 2025.
The Widening Participation Fund will assist 44 projects that “help children who wouldn’t usually learn how to cycle become confident cyclists”, according to a Bikeability statement.
More than 1000 bikes will be purchased for English children from deprived areas. Alongside the bikes, projects will deliver Bikeability sessions in the community to enable children and their parents to learn to cycle together.
“Children from Black, Asian, and other ethnic minority backgrounds will benefit from community-based projects to help them access cycle training. Other projects will empower girls to cycle more by improving self-esteem and providing aspirational female cycling role models,” the statement says.