Children miss out on cycle training

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THE parents of primary school pupils are being urged to ensure that their children take advantage of cycle training.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s road safety and sustainable travel section is concerned about the reduced take-up of in-school Bikeability training amongst local Year 6 youngsters.

The council’s road safety officer Paul Watson said: “Statistics show that between May and the end of the school year in 2011 around 400 pupils underwent training. However, during the same period this year the number was 170.”

He is at a loss to fully explain the drop, although he suspects that the number of BMX bikes – which are not suitable for the training – in circulation may be part of the reason.

He added: “We promote the training through schools by issuing letters and booklets to pupils, but it may still be the case that some parents just do not realise that this type of cycle training is available to their children.

“Children cannot take part in the training until a consent form signed by a parent or guardian is completed and returned to their school.”

Funded by a Department for Transport grant, Bikeability training, an accredited national standard, is delivered over four days by the council’s in-house Bikeability training team.

The training does not teach children to cycle, but aims to improve the cycling skills they already have.

Prior to starting a course, children must be able to cycle in a straight line unaided, cycle one-handed while signalling without wobbling or falling off and be able to look over their shoulders without wobbling or falling off.

All bikes used in the training must be roadworthy in that they have working front and back brakes, correctly inflated tyres, a chain that is oiled, a seat correctly adjusted to the height of the rider, handlebars and pedals that are not loose and front and back reflectors.

More information is available by calling Robert Snowball, the council’s sustainable travel officer, on (01429) 523259.