The CTC are urging the public to add their weight to a campaign to make Bikeability cycle training – the successor to Cycling Proficiency – part of the UK National Curriculum and help give young people better road sense.
Last year, the Department for Transport allocated £11m to Bikeability funding and forecasted that 300,000 children would benefit from the training. However, Chris Peck, campaigns and policy coordinator at the CTC, told BikeRadar that in a minority of schools Bikeability lessons were not being taken up because “they think it’s dangerous or they have some sort of crazy health and safety culture that says we shouldn’t be encouraging this [cycling]”.
He added: “The government is putting money into Bikeability but there are some places where schools still aren’t even taking that money. We think it’s really important that it should be on the National Curriculum. In many families where cycling isn’t going on, the only way kids are going to learn the basic skills of cycling is in school.”
In February, the Department for Education launched a public consultation on the National Curriculum to be taught from September 2014 onwards. The CTC have developed a draft response, which can be amended and submitted here.
In their response, the CTC call for basic skills such as signalling, bike handling and riding on minor roads to be taught to 7-11 year olds, with more advanced skills such as riding on busy roads and navigation to be taught to older children.
According to CTC briefing documents, almost a third of journeys between 8-9am are school runs, and only one in 50 pupils cycles to school. More cycling proficiency could reduce congestion and make children healthier. Peck said good quality training was also a useful way to instil road awareness from an early age.
“Cycle training is a very good grounding for teaching teenagers to drive because it’s about all those things around negotiating with other road users, anticipating hazards and also a lot about basic road sense,” he added.
The Department for Education’s National Curriculum consultation ends on 16 April 2013.