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Kids will be able to learn safe riding skills in a fun environment

Children are to be encouraged to learn about road safety on a miniature road system that has been built in Nottingham.

The bike track features zebra crossings, roundabouts, junctions and even working traffic lights.

It was built at a cost of £135,000, and will be available 24/7 for toddlers to 11 year olds to practice using scooters and bikes.

The local council also hopes to begin some formal training sessions there.

Jo Gotheridge, 56, with her two grandchildren, of Mapperley, told the Nottingham Post: “It seems really good. Hopefully it is teaching them about road safety, something which concerns me because of the speed and amount of traffic nowadays.

“I think things like this are necessary because it reinforces what you teach children but in a safe environment.”

Lisa King, 42, of Cotgrave, said: “It is brilliant. We have never seen anything like this before. We would like something it where we live.”

Her eight-year-old daughter Olivia added: "It is good because we can learn about the road. It's fun and I have already learnt to stop at zebra crossings."

Nigel Alldread, 45, from The Meadows, took his four-year-old daughter to the opening and said: "I think it is a great facility for everyone.

"As a cyclist myself, I think it is important kids learn about road safety at an early age.

"Cyclists and car drivers can both cause problems for each other so it's important for kids to learn the right way to ride."

It was opened by Councillor Dave Trimble, the portfolio holder for leisure and culture at Nottingham City Council, and was attended by members of the public and local cycling organisations.

He said: “I’m really proud to be here today to talk to some of the children and parents about how they are enjoying the new track.

“It’s wonderful to see so many local people popping in to the opening of the bike park and we've had a great deal of interest from the local community.

“This is exactly what the project is for – to offer local families a place to bring their young cyclists, to have some fun in a safe environment and to ensure they learn a few key rules on road safety along the way.”

A few years ago, we reported how 55 per cent of children would rather cycle to school than travel by car but only one per cent actually do.

The research also showed that 38 per cent of children seek the independence and freedom cycling would bring, but are prevented because of their parents’ concerns about their safety.

The findings were the result of an online survey conducted amongst a random sample of nearly 1000 children aged between nine and 11, across England and Wales.

Far from being the couch potatoes they are often portrayed as being, the children who were consulted showed they are switched on to the benefits of cycling with 33 per cent believing cycling to school would make them more alert and better prepared for the school day.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.