Call to youngsters to be on course to be safer cyclists

So far 35,000 (3000 in 2015 alone)  young people have been through Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service’s Cycle Training  programme which trains them to be  safer cyclists in moving traffic.

Mick a road safety specialist with Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service said: “I would recommend this course to any young cyclist. The lessons the children learn during the course helps to make them safer cyclists now and will hopefully reduce the risk of them becoming a road casualty in future, whatever their mode of transportation. What they learn could save their life one day.”

The Oxfordshire Cycle Training programme is National Standard level 1 and 2 cycle training. It is targeted at children aged 9+ and covers: 

• Learning how to check the bike is roadworthy.
• Making sure their cycle helmet is correctly fitted.
• Using a local ”T” junction they learn how to negotiate left and right turn from minor to major roads and major to minor roads including who has right of way.
• How to overtake a parked vehicle
• Developing decision making skills when cycling in moving traffic.
• They also learn and are tested on the Junior Highway code as it applies to cyclists.

The Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Road Safety Education team is able to train this many children thanks to almost 600 school based volunteers who are supported by a Road Safety Officer.

Schools recruit volunteers from their community who are initially trained by the Road Safety Education Team.

Many of the qualified Cycle Training Tutors have been involved with the scheme for decades. Giving their time for free to provide these lifesaving skills for children.

Mick added: ”The roads are busier than ever before with more and more people being encouraged to cycle as it is good for them and good for the environment. However as any cyclist will tell you, the roads can be dangerous places and these courses are an excellent way to teaching young people how to look after themselves and their bikes.

“Thankfully cycling casualties in Oxfordshire are relatively low. No one was killed last year and a total of 43 people were injured, eight seriously, but we cannot afford to be complacent and I believe it is courses like  the cycle training programme that help to keep the statistics down. Our aim is to get them down even lower.  With the help of the hundreds of  fantastic volunteers who give up their time to help run the programme I believe we can do that.  Without the volunteers we would not be able to offer this important road safety training for young cyclists”. ”

Dan Latimer a volunteer cycle training tutor at Rush Common School said:” Teaching the children to cycle safely is very rewarding and is an important life skill, which will be with the children for the rest of their lives. It is great to see children cycling safely and ultimately passing their cycling training tests.”

“Cycling is a healthy and fun activity but it is important to do it safely whilst building children’s knowledge and confidence.  Cycling training allows children to practice starting off, stopping, passing parked cars, taking left and right turns in a safe and controlled environment.”

If you are interested in becoming a Cycle Training Volunteer email Wendy Jennings at wendy.jennings@oxfordshire.gov.uk  or your contact your local school.

Media invite
Photo and interviews with Cycle Training Tutor Dan Latimer and pupils at Rush Common School taking part in on-road cycle training on the 18th March at 2.30pm.

Rush Common School Cycle Training site = at the Appleford Drive with Dorchester Crescent, Abingdon OX14 2BT.   18th March at 2.30pm

Notes to editors:
• This advice is part of Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service’s 365alive initiative. 
• For more information about the initiative, please visit www.365alive.co.uk

In addition to running their volunteer based Cycle Training scheme, the County Council also took advantage of the government grant scheme, Bikeability, to ensure as many children as possible get the chance to learn how to cycle more safely in traffic. https://bikeability.org.uk/what/