Cycling safety training for almost every Oxfordshire child with £80k boost

Oxfordshire County Council 'cycling champion' Cllr Suzanne Bartington getting involved in cycle safety training. Photo: Oxfordshire County Council
Oxfordshire County Council 'cycling champion' Cllr Suzanne Bartington getting involved in cycle safety training. Photo: Oxfordshire County Council

Almost every primary school child in Oxfordshire will now be able to get free cycle safety training after the award of an £84,500 grant which will pay for an additional 2,000 places.

Oxfordshire County Council has been awarded the 'Bikeability' grant to support the free countywide training programme available to all school children.

The council’s 'cycling champion', Cllr Suzanne Bartington, said: “The council’s successful funding bid means we will now be able to provide expert training to almost all school children, at their schools. Around 5,000 each year for the next two years.

“High quality training makes children much more confident on the road and sets them on the course to become cyclists for the rest of their lives with all the health benefits that brings.

“Made up of six, 90 minute sessions usually spread over a week, it’s completely free of charge to both schools and pupils.”

The bulk of cycling training in the county is carried out by a 700-strong army of volunteer instructors under the Oxfordshire Cycle Training Scheme, which has been running for more than 40 years.

Training is offered to children from nine-years-old and up and is a mixture of learning about the Highways Code and practical ‘on the road’ tuition.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service road safety manager Andy Ford, who manages the scheme, said the funds will help in many way.

“This new money means we can help support our marvelous volunteers to expand the number of sessions but also bring in local, approved, paid providers where and when necessary," he said.

“This way we get the best of both worlds, continuing to support and extend a long-standing community-based service but with added flexibility.”

Parents and carers who want their children to take part in training should contact their school’s head teacher.