Children bike scheme worth £13 million relaunched at Hatfield school

PUBLISHED: 11:23 15 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:23 15 October 2019

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps launching the Bikeability scheme. Picture: Department for Transport.

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps launching the Bikeability scheme. Picture: Department for Transport.

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A £13 million bike scheme for children was relaunched at a Hatfield school on Friday.

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps launching the Bikeability scheme. Picture: Department for Transport. Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps launching the Bikeability scheme. Picture: Department for Transport.

The funding, announced by Welwyn Hatfield MP and transport secretary Grant Shapps, will help 50 per cent of primary schools across England to access the Bikeability programme.

Grant Shapps said at St Philip Howard Catholic Primary School that he hopes the investment will train "even more cyclists over the coming years".

He said: "[It] has now supported three million children to take to their bikes safely and confidently, kick-starting a lifetime of cycling for them".

Bikeability training teaches basic bike-handling in a controlled traffic-free environment so children can go on to build their skills on a variety of traffic conditions and roads.

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps launching the Bikeability scheme. Picture: Department for Transport.Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps launching the Bikeability scheme. Picture: Department for Transport.

Paul Robison, chief executive officer at the Bikeability Trust, believes "high-quality cycle training enables confident and enjoyable cycling, raises awareness of skilful cycling among all road users, and contributes to better transport, health and wellbeing".

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He said: "Children love Bikeability and parents value the training their children receive.

"Independent research confirms Bikeability helps children cycle more safely, more often."

Dr Karen Exley, group leader of air pollution at Public Health England, added that "cycling is a great way of cutting congestion by encouraging people to get out of their cars on short journeys such as the school run".

The government says it has provided £22 million to create traffic free cycling and walking routes, improved signage, road crossings and accessibility - for mobility scooters, wheelchairs and adapted bikes - as part of a programme of upgrades for the National Cycle Network.

Over £7 million has also gone to local authorities so that they improve cycle safety at dangerous junctions.

The idea of Bikeability and other schemes is to increase cyclist travel from 800 million to 1.6 billion by 2025, but the government admitted that if it wants to meet its targets it will need to double up on funding.

A total of around £2 billion is estimated to be spent on active travel from 2016/17 to 2020/21.

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