DfT grant extends cycle training scheme

The passenger transport executive for Merseyside has secured £1.3m of Government funding to continue cycle training in primary and secondary schools.

Merseytravel's bid to the Department for Transport will extend Merseyside Transport Partnership's Bikeability scheme, arguably the biggest cycle training scheme in the country.

The new tranche of funding means that schools across the region will be able to offer cycle training to 10,800 pupils in school years 5 to 9 this year, with 23,400 receiving training in the following two years.

The initiative, run by the MTP's TravelWise campaign, will see children given the chance to take part in training sessions to suit their ability, starting with basic cycling and balancing skills and progressing to on-road training.

Research into the long-term effects of cycle training programmes for young people and adults, commissioned by the MTP, showed that nine in every ten children who had completed the course now cycle at least once a week, and are safer and better able to deal with roads and other hazards.

Jim Barclay, interim chief executive of Merseytravel, said: "This award from DfT is reward for the Merseyside Transport Partnership's long-standing commitment to developing our young cyclists.

"These courses give a real boost to cycling in the region, which has already seen a 25% increase in cycling since 2006. The training offered to school pupils increases skills and confidence and in turn leads to many becoming regular cyclists.

"Our research showed 73% of parents thought that cycle training had improved their child's enjoyment of cycling and more than half reported that the sessions had encouraged other members of the family to get on their bikes."

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