Dept of Health makes positive noises about Bikeability

Carlton Reid
Dept of Health makes positive noises about Bikeability

Liz Kendall of the Children and Young People’s Health Improvement at the Department of Health has written to Cycle Training UK's David Dansky in response to a letter he wrote to Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies.

Ms Kendall said:

"Physical activity levels in children and young people are too low and it is a priority of the Department of Health to help more children to live healthy, active lifestyles. Cycling is a great form of exercise and a practical way to help children achieve the Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines."

She added: "We welcome your engagement with [the Department for Education] on the PE curriculum."

The Department for Education has now finished consulting on the content of the national curriculum.

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British Cycling had called for children to be given the chance to learn how to ride a bike confidently on the road. Likewise the CTC is encouraged its members and other cyclists to respond to the consultation.

According to British Cycling, despite the good work of Bikeability in schools, only around half of all children currently have access to some form of cycle training. The training takes young people out on the road to teach them vital life skills about awareness, traffic riding and to get them used to the experience of cycling to school. Non-compulsory Bikeability training replaced ‘cycle proficiency’ tests in 2007 when the initiative was rolled out by the Department for Transport.

This isn't the first time the call has been made to include cycling on the curriculum. Mountain biking has been on the curriculum in Scotland since 2010 and some English local authorities are teaching school children cycling as part of the curriculum – including in Derby since 2007.

“Cycling is a vital life-skill that all children should have – especially if we want to normalise cycling as an everyday activity that all people can do," said British Cycling director for Policy and Legal Affairs Martin Gibbs.

"Like the ability to swim, cycling is a skill that young people carry with them throughout their adult lives – be that cycling as a sport, a form of transport and a way to keep fit and healthy.

“Bikeability training shouldn’t just be the preserve of children whose schools or local authorities happen to promote cycling - it should be for everyone."

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