Bikeability training will be offered to adults in England looking to switch to two wheels to get around from next month, according to a report in The Sunday Times.
The newspaper says that the initiative is being championed by transport secretary Grant Shaps who is said to be “actively looking” at helping new bike riders, as well as those getting back in the saddle.
Bikeability Trust executive director Emily Cherry said: “Most taking up training are cyclists who have been enjoying the relative quietness of roads in the first few weeks [of lockdown] but are now worried as roads get busier and traffic increases.
“Learners also fear a reduction in the number of cyclists around them as traffic volumes increase.”
She revealed that to date, none had raised the question of how they should deal with aggressive motorists.
“If this [issue] came up, instructors would focus on the importance of eye contact, looking at drivers and signalling with intent ... so they see you as human and not simply as another vehicle on the road.”
While there are already plans for Bikeability to be offered free to all primary school pupils in England, Cherry is pushing for it to be extended to older age groups.
“I think it would help to have compulsory training at the end of primary school,” she said, drawing a parallel with swimming, which is included on the national curriculum.
“Jumping into a pool, a river, a lake is dangerous,” she explained. “Children have to demonstrate by the end of primary school that they can swim. Could we do the same for cycling?”
AA president Edmund King agreed that road safety should be included within the national curriculum and also supported free cycle training for adults who are new to cycling.
He told The Sunday Times: “As with learner car drivers, it is crucial for cyclists to understand the rules of the road, manoeuvring skills and positive interactions with other road users,” he said.
“Often drivers are also cyclists and pedestrians and vice versa, so it seems bizarre that some react differently depending on their mode of transport.”
As workplaces gradually reopen as the country slowly emerges from lockdown, the government is encouraging people to walk or cycle rather than drive or use public transport.
However, there’s no news yet on when £50 Fix Your Bike vouchers, first announced by Shapps back in May and due to have been released to the public last month, will be available.
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.