Pupils in East Renfrewshire get on their bikes thanks to Bikeability cycle training

Hundreds of primary school pupils from across East Renfrewshire have been given cycling training to teach them to feel safer on the roads and develop practical life skills.

Saturday, 12th December 2020, 9:26 am
Bikeability Scotland Cycle Training gives children the skills and confidence they need to cycle safely on the roads. (Photo: Julie Howden)

Bikeability Scotland is a cycle training programme, delivered in East Renfrewshire schools to teach and equip pupils to independently cycle on roads, with traffic, and feel confident.

The course takes place on local streets and is delivered by school staff and volunteers, who are assisted by fully qualified Cycle Scotland cycle trainers. It aims to develop pupils’ cycling and coordination, team working and problem solving skills.

Despite the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Bikeability sessions have still been delivered in 12 schools, following Scottish Government guidelines at all times, with over 500 pupils involved in on road training.

East Renfrewshire Council has been at the forefront of the programme since 2010 and is one of three local authorities in Scotland to deliver Bikeability Level 2 to all of its 24 primary schools.

Bikeability Level 2 takes place on local streets to give real cycling experience. Pupils learn how to deal with traffic on short journeys, such as cycling to school.

Aiming to prepare pupils for difficult roads and traffic, Level 3 teaches pupils advanced skills including cycling on busier streets, queuing traffic, complex junctions and roundabouts.

Linking to the Council’s Active Travel Plan, which promotes an active and healthy lifestyle, the programme also offers a number of health and social advantages to pupils, with cycling for leisure and commuting seeing a rise throughout the area over recent years.

Councillor Alan Lafferty, Convener for Environment, said: “Being able to cycle to school not only is great exercise to help keep you fit, but it is also good for the environment as it reduces traffic and vehicle journeys.

“It’s fantastic to hear of so many of our pupils have been enjoying their Bikeability training – it’s so beneficial to our young people as it helps keep them safe on the road, whilst increasing their awareness of the positive impact that cycling has on the environment and their own physical and emotional wellbeing which is key.

“Despite the challenges this year has faced, the Bikeability staff have worked so hard to ensure this essential life skill is still provided to hundreds of pupils across our schools.”