Councillors have approved additional funding to support Bikeability cycle training for school children.
Bikeability is offered to Year 6 pupils, teaching them practical skills and understanding of how to cycle on roads – crucial training at a time when cycling in the county has an increasingly high profile. The scheme is in its eighth year in North Yorkshire and about 30,000 students have benefited from the scheme.
In April last year, the Department for Transport (DfT) reduced by 30 per cent the number of grant-funded places available to pupils in North Yorkshire. At that time, the County Council was able to secure additional funding to maintain the 4,100 training places as previously, but this year that additional funding was not available, so the council could offer only about 3,000 training places to schools in target areas.
But in summer, the DfT invited the County Council to apply for an additional £45,000 from grant surplus. An application was made and this funding is now on offer and could fund a further 1,100 training places. The County Council would need to contribute up to £6,600.
The authority’s Business and Environmental Service Executive Members today accepted the offered funding and agreed to the council making a top-up contribution
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Transport, said: “Cycling is becoming more and more popular in North Yorkshire and that is very good news. It is important that young cyclists are safe and feel safe on our roads and that is why we have agreed to accept the Government funding and pay the top-up costs. We want to ensure Bikeability remains an important part of our road safety work.”
Bikeability training is provided by professional cycling instructors and each course lasts two days. Children are tested on the practical skills they learn during the course and on their knowledge of the Highway Code.