Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Free Cycle Safety Training For Thousands Of Cambridgeshire Youngsters

Cllr Pellew at a Bikeability event
at the Grove Primary School in
King's Hedges

A bid for government funding and reductions in spending elsewhere will mean that thousands of Cambridgeshire youngsters will get free cycle safety training thanks to the County Council.

The spending savings which have resulted in an extra £10,000 boost from the County Council budget and the grant from DfT will see 4,000 training places during 2012/13, 4,500 the next year and 5,000 the following year - a total of 13,500 youngsters who will receive the training in primary schools at no cost - currently the training costs £15 a head.

The Bikeability training grant bid of £540,000 will be used by the County Council to provide the road safety education sessions which will be delivered in partnership with School Games Organiser Host Schools (formally known as School Sports Partnerships).

Cambridgeshire County Councillor for King's Hedges Andy Pellew said "It's fantastic news that the County Council has finally recognised the folly of charging youngsters for this sort of necessary training. It was always very frustrating that despite being in receipt of Government money the Conservative-Controlled County Council had decided to place a charge and it's good to see it going from the start of the next academic year."

"Given the importance of Cycling to the general health and well-being of youngsters not to mention the nett benefit to removing school-run cars from the roads I look forward to as many youngsters as possible benefiting from this change of heart as quickly as possible."

During the last 12 months for which figures are available, 355 pedal cycle casualties were reported on Cambridgeshire's roads.

Cambridgeshire County Council pioneered on-road practical cycle training for 10/11 year olds, during the late 1970s, which eventually became the benchmark for all such schemes nationally. Since then the County has trained thousands of children every year.

The County Council will receive a Bikeability payment retrospectively from DfT for every young person who undergoes the training and the free training sessions will be introduced from the beginning of the next academic year.