Cycle safety is Tour of Britain's legacy
With cycle fever riding high thanks to the hugely successful Tour of Britain staged in Nottinghamshire, chairman of the County Council’s Communities and Place Committee, Councillor John Cottee says autumn is the perfect time for promoting cycle safety for children
As the nights draw in and growing youngsters start biking to and from school with the new school term under way, being safe and confident on a bike couldn’t be more important – or timely.
With Via East Midlands, which manages highways services on our behalf, our Bikeability scheme provides vital cycle safety skills for young people as part of our wider road safety education remit.
To help showcase this valuable initiative, 22 Bikeability trained youngsters, who had achieved the highest Level 3 standard, rode the first mile of the Tour of Britain race earlier this month – cheered on by thousands of excited onlookers.
We hope that the Tour leaves a real legacy among young people and encourages them to get out and enjoy riding their bikes as well as promoting cycle safety.
Last year the scheme delivered around 5,800 places across all age groups and abilities, as well as a range of road safety education in schools across all age ranges.
Bikeability is normally delivered through schools across the county, is usually free of charge and carried out by our accredited cycle instructors with three levels of training available.
At a school I visited recently, pupils were taking part in Level 2 training which happens on-road and aims to provide pupils with the skills and understanding to be able to undertake a trip to school or leisure on quiet roads.
Instruction included passing parked vehicles, understanding road positioning and manoeuvres when turning left and right; hazard awareness and having the confidence to make decisions independently – all crucial skills for travelling safely by bike.
Partner agencies also host ‘Learn to Ride’ sessions through the ‘Bikeability’ team, providing bicycles, helmets, balance bikes and organising games to help pupils build up their confidence when on a bike and learn safety tips.
Via East Midlands’ road safety team gives advice in schools and to parents on teaching children to ride safely, and to ensure that bikes are properly adjusted for height and comfort.
Children between the age of 11 and 16 years account for over a quarter of serious and fatal cycle injuries, but we can minimise this risk, which is why we are investing in cycle training as a vital part of keeping our children safe on our roads.
Councillor John Cotts, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council's Communities and Place Committee