Cycling UK has called on the Government to double its funding of the Bikeability cycle training scheme. The charity says that just £26m of funding would mean every 10-year-old in the country would get the opportunity to learn to cycle.
Cycling UK says it costs £18.33 per head for a pupil to reach Bikeability Level 2, which equips pupils with the skills to negotiate quiet single carriage roads and simple junctions.
Bikeability funding was recently increased from £12.5m for 2018/19 to £13m for 2019/20. However, this still means that only 50 per cent of English primary schools can access the training.
Further funding would be required to deliver Bikeability Level 3, which provides the skills to ride safely on busier roads and at roundabouts.
James Scott, Cycling UK’s Director of Behaviour Change said: “Bikeability is a great scheme, helping thousands of children to learn to cycle with confidence, but with austerity meant to be officially over, now would have been the time to turn on the funding taps so every child in England can learn how to cycle, not just 50% of them.
“Investing just £18 in each Year 6 student would give every young person the opportunity to develop a lifelong skill that would be good for their health, and also the environment.”
In its ‘Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy: Safety Review’, the Government expressed an ambition to create, “a world in which a 12 year old can cycle, and walk, safely.”
Cycling UK says making Bikeability available to all Year 6 students is an important step to achieving the Government’s vision.
Currently, only three percent of 11-16 year olds regularly cycle to school.
Separately, the Government recently admitted that funding per head in England will have to double if it is to reach its 2025 target of doubling cycling from 800 million travel ‘stages’ to 1.6 billion.
Responding to a Transport Select Committee report on its Cycling and Walking Investment strategy, the Department for Transport said: “Interim results from the investment models indicate that annual investment per head in England is likely to need to at least double if the cycling aim is to be achieved in 2025.”