Extra funding has been awarded to help even more West Sussex schoolchildren learn how to cycle safely on today’s roads.
The County Council provides Bikeability training free-of-charge to schools and the importance of this has been recognised with an extra £15,500 in Department for Transport (DfT) funding. This will help provide Bikeability Level One and Two training, taking children from the basics of balance and control, through to planning and making independent journeys on busier roads.
Bob Lanzer, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “This is great news as the extra funding will allow us to reach even more schools and more individuals through the Bikeability projects we run.
“Bikeability, which used to be known as Cycle Proficiency training, is designed to ensure children gain practical skills and understanding of how to cycle on today’s roads. It gives them the skills and confidence for all types of cycling and is governed by national standards.”
Dean Pocock, Road Safety Officer, said: “Each year we train in excess of 8,000 pupils at Bikeability Levels One and Two. This year, we are set to exceed 9,000 pupils – something which we’ve never done before.
“There are three levels to Bikeability and we currently offer a combined Level One/Two course to all schools across the county which have Year 6 pupils who want to take part.”
DfT funding is used for holiday courses, additional aspects of the Bikeability programme and to give pupils, unable to attend courses in term time, the chance to participate.
“We also provide Balance Bike training for pupils in Reception and Year 1, funded by DfT grant. Bikeability Balance is a series of school-based sessions that aims to prepare children in Reception and Year 1 with the skills that they will need to take part in Bikeability Level One.
“We use games and balance bikes to develop their handling and awareness and it is one of a suite of additional Bikeabilty-Plus modules.”
The County Council has consistently met the initial target of 860 trainees per year and was successful in a bid for an additional 269 places, funded by the DfT, in October 2017.
Dean highlighted another important aspect of the scheme: “The important role Bikeability plays in supporting young people to be physically active is supported by my colleagues in Public Health.
“The more children we can train to be confident cyclists, the more we are contributing to making the young people of West Sussex more physically active.”