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Tuesday 6 April 2010

Gearing up for safer cycling

Parents, school staff and Police Community Support Officers are helping youngsters to become responsible cyclists of the future.

More than 40 volunteers took part in two cycling instructor training days organised by Cheshire East Council.

The newly-qualified cycling instructors will now go on to train pupils in years five and six in schools across Cheshire East, to ride their bikes safely.

Councillor Rod Menlove, Cabinet member for environmental services, said: “The Let’s Bike scheme aims to give children the basic knowledge, skills and practical advice about being future road users.

“It’s all about working with the schools in delivering safer attitudes and behaviour patterns and hopefully encouraging more schoolchildren to travel to school safely on their bikes and also get fit.”

Cheshire East Council wrote to every primary school and offered staff and governors the chance to take part in the Let’s Bike scheme.

The scheme also called on volunteers across Cheshire East to take part in training to become qualified cycling instructors.

Cycling training schemes have been running across the UK since 1974 and many adults may remember completing their Cycling Proficiency Test.

Councillor Menlove added: “Whereas in the past, the Cycling Proficiency Test may have deemed youngsters fit to take the roads - this scheme is more cautious.

“There are now more vehicles on the roads than ever before, and once children have received their basic training, it really is down to their parents to make sure they practise and are confident on the roads before they let them cycle to school.

“Youngsters are making an important transition from using their bike as a toy to using their bike as a vehicle.

“With help from the Let’s Bike scheme along with their parents, we hope youngsters will be able to cycle safely, read Highway Code signs and enjoy that first sense of independence that cycling brings.”

Latest accurate statistics (2008):

30 pedal cyclists of all ages were seriously injured on Cheshire East roads

Three quarters of those were male

Children between the ages of 0 and 15 years old made up 27 per cent of casualties (8 children).

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