TABS warns of risk to funding for Bikeability training

The Association of Bikeability Schemes welcomes parliamentary support for cycle training but warns on Bikeability funding.
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The Association of Bikeability Schemes (TABS) has welcomed the recommendation on cycle training put forward by MPs in the Transport Committee’s 3rd report on cycle safety published on 14th July. This said that cycle training should be available to all cyclists: children of primary and secondary age, adults seeking to gain confidence, and those looking to refresh their road skills. It also said local authorities should work with local cycling organisations and retailers to fund and promote this training and ensure that it is best suited to the local environment.

TABS also supports the Committee’s call for stronger monitoring and evaluation data in order to assess the contribution cycle training makes to improving cycling skills and confidence and getting more people cycling more often with less risk.

Michael Frearson, one of the directors of TABS said: "We would like to work with Government to explore how data on road safety and cycle usage could be used alongside other data to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of cycle training in improved safety for cycling.

"We think cycling is for everyone, and with training it becomes a much safer and more enjoyable form of everyday transport than the media sometimes allow. Bikeability gives children and adults the skills and confidence they need to cycle well on today’s roads, increasing their independence, health and wellbeing, and reducing risk for all road users. We give our full support to any research effort demonstrating the effectiveness of Bikeability in achieving these goals."

However, TABS expressed concerns over the recommendation that that local authorities could fund Bikeability in the future. Under current arrangements, the Department of Transport distribute £24m between April 2013 and March 2015 to local authorities and SGHOs who submit annual grant applications based on the number of training places they can deliver in each local area. This method results in 50 percent of children in England receiving Bikeability before they leave primary school.

TABs warns that removing national funding would herald a return to the piecemeal provision Bikeability was designed to replace, and put at risk the quality and effectiveness of training provision as local authorities struggle to fund another area of discretionary spending.

David Dansky of TABS said: "We urgently seek assurances from the Department for Transport that this recommendation will not be accepted, and that the Government intends national funding for Bikeability to continue through the next Parliament."

The Association of Bikeability Schemes is a trade association which works with the Department for Transport to ensure the highest quality of delivery of Bikeability cycle training. 

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