Greater Manchester’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Jim Battle yesterday joined local school children from Clayton’s Seymour Road Academy to encourage kids right across the city to be safe and confident on two wheels.
Jim Battle, who is also Chair of the Board of Governors for Seymour Road Academy, was at the school to join Year 4 pupils as they took their first steps on the Bikeability Plus course provided by local cycle training provider BikeRight! The course is designed to give children the skills they need to become confident and safe cyclists whilst improving their health and confidence.
Jim Battle says, “I can’t stress how important it is for young children to learn how to cycle at the earliest opportunity. Road safety and awareness is paramount whether on the school run or out playing with friends.
“But the Bikeability Plus course offers children so much more than just the chance to cycle to school. It gives them the chance to be healthier, work together as a team and opens up a world of opportunities in later life.”
Nick Higgins, BikeRight! instructor says, “Bikeability Plus is a great initiative, BikeRight! were involved in the development of this scheme a couple of years ago and it has been well received in the schools right across Manchester.
“Bikeability Plus gives us the opportunity to develop the children’s cycling skills in readiness for their level 1 and 2 Bikeability training in year 6.”
The national Bikeability programme, aimed at teaching road skills to the next generation of cyclists, remains high on the list of government priorities after November’s Spending Review.
Seen as the heir to the old Cycling Proficiency test and funded by The Department for Transport and local councils, Bikeability is set to receive £50m over the next four years to continue its work, matching previous years’ annual commitments. The £50m is to cover all of England excluding London.
In the North West, a region that instructs more children than any other part of the country, cycle training provider BikeRight! provides 88 instructors to teach the course. The organisation trains over 3500 Manchester pupils on an annual basis, teaching them how to cycle confidently and skilfully on busy city streets. Each pupil receives at least eight hours of specialist training in primary school and additional sessions are available in some secondary schools too.
For the past ten years BikeRight! has been teaching pupils the city’s 135 primary schools improving cycling skills, health & well-being of an entire generation of Manchester children.