More than half of parents of schoolchildren in Britain are calling for cycle training to be added to the National Curriculum, according to a survey commissioned by Halfords, the country’s biggest cycling retailer.
A total of 56 per cent of parents quizzed called for the training, which comprises three levels under with the National Standards for Cycle Training and replaced the former Cycling Proficiency Test, to be made compulsory in schools.
Meanwhile, 60 per cent agreed that more money should be spent on schemes designed to make cycling safer for children, even if that meant cash being diverted from other initiatives.
The release of the results of the survey coincides with the announcement that the retailer has agreed to sponsor the Bikeability Trust for three years, backing it to the tune of £1 million and enabling a further 25,000 children to benefit from the programme.
As part of its backing of the initiative, Halfords will perform safety tests on bikes belonging to children signed up to Bikeability training at their schools.
Graham Stapleton, CEO of Halfords, commented: “We are delighted to partner with the Bikeability Trust, and we are really proud to be able to help 25,000 more children to discover the joy of riding a bike.
“Safe cycling unlocks confidence and encourages daily activity. By helping more children cycle more safely and more often, families will be inspired to get out on their bikes.”
The findings have been reported on by media outlets including Mail Online and the Daily Express, with Edmund King, president of the AA, telling the latter that giving children cycle training should make them better motorists later in life.
He said: “The AA has also called for road safety to be part of the national curriculum and for Bikeability training to be offered in all schools. This initiative is a positive step.
“A few years ago, we distributed 5 million small 'Think bike' stickers via Halfords for drivers to put on their wing mirrors to remind them to be aware.
“We have also introduced a safer cycling module into AA and BSM driving schools so that new drivers are taught about driving safety around cyclists,” he continued.
“Many drivers are cyclists and many younger cyclists become drivers. 'Hence we need to promote safe cycling and more harmony on our roads.”
Cycling minister Jesse Norman welcomed the partnership between Halfords and the Bikeability Trust, saying: “The benefits of cycling and walking are enormous. For people, it means cheaper travel and better health.
“For businesses, it means increased productivity and increased footfall in shops, and for society as a whole it means lower congestion, better air quality, and vibrant, attractive places.
“Halfords' investment in cycle training for children is a great boost for the delivery of the Bikeability programme.
“This investment in the future generation of cyclists will allow us to reach and train more children than ever before,” he added.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.