Cycle training under North Yorkshire’s Bikeability scheme is to be targeted on areas which statistics show have road safety issues.
With Department for Transport (DfT) grants, the council has been able to offer fully-funded cycle training places to schools for the past seven years. During this time, more than 28,600 students have benefited from the scheme.
But from April last year the Department for Transport reduced by 30 per cent the number of grant-funded places available to the North Yorkshire Road Safety Team. Last year the council was able to secure additional funding to offer the same number of training places as previously, but from this month that additional funding is no longer available.
The council will now only be able to offer the number of places funded by the DfT grant and on that basis has decided that future training will be offered to the schools in target areas.
The training is provided by professional cycling instructors and each course lasts for two days. Initially, sessions are based in the playground or another safe area. Once basic skills have been developed, lessons move on to the road. The instructors and pupils cycle together as a group, practising the skills and manoeuvres they are learning.
Children are tested on the practical skills they have learned and on their knowledge of the Highway Code. They receive a final assessment report that details their achievements and advises parents of any particular achievements or areas that need further work. Each pupil also receives a Bikeability Badge.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Transport, said: “Our road safety team will be making contact with schools in the target areas in order to make provisional bookings for training.
“The reduction in grant funding will reduce the number of places we can offer compared with previous years. For that reason, we will ensure that training is given in those areas where it is most needed.
“We will continue to work with partners, including our road safety partners in 95 Alive and public health, to look at the road safety budget and what funding is available in the future.’’