Merseyside to benefit from cycling cash

Merseyside Transport Partnership has been awarded £420,000 in Government funding to continue its Bikeability programme in the area.

Despite the abolition of Cycling England, the quango that established the scheme five years ago, the Department for Transport's dedicated cycle training fund provided the cash towards the continuation of Bikeability in Merseyside.

Since Bikeability replaced the defunct cycling proficiency test in 2006, 43,000 children have been through the scheme in Merseyside. Run locally through the Merseyside Transport Partnership's TravelWise campaign, Bikeability enables pupils in Years 5 and 6 to take part in coaching sessions that suit their ability, starting with basic cycling and balancing skills and progressing to on-road training.

MTP said funding will ensure that schools can offer cycle training to an additional 10,500 pupils from April this year.

Neil Scales, chairman of Merseyside Transport Partnership, said: "As the provision of a dedicated budget makes clear, encouraging more people to cycle more often is high on the government's agenda. We have worked long and hard to promote the economic, environmental and health benefits of cycling in Merseyside, joining with a wide range of organisations to share knowledge and pool resources.

"By clearly demonstrating our strong commitment to delivering cycling initiatives over the last few years, we are delighted to have attracted more funding to Merseyside. Continuing the Bikeability cycle training programme will enable us to continue to equip more children with the vital skills they need to cycle confidently and safely."

Merseyside Transport Partnership consists of Merseytravel and the five local authorities of Merseyside, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens, and Wirral.

TravelWise Merseyside is Merseyside Transport Partnership's campaign to help people in the area to use alternative choices to the car, including walking, cycling or using public transport.

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