North Devon cycle trainers take to the road

THEY are recognised by their high visibility vests and the look of intense concentration on their faces… One by one they practise their left or right turns at T-junctions, closely monitored by instructors. This is a Bikeability session and for most of the

THEY are recognised by their high visibility vests and the look of intense concentration on their faces...

One by one they practise their left or right turns at T-junctions, closely monitored by instructors. This is a Bikeability session and for most of the attending children of Landkey Primary School it is their first on-road cycling experience.

Bikeability, formerly known as Cycling Proficiency, is the new Government-approved award for cycle training.

It is aimed at school children aged between 10-12 and is designed to give them the skills and confidence to cycle on the road.


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The Bikeability scheme has been brought to North Devon by the local PEDPASS Partnership

"We have successfully brought the Bikeability Level 2 course to almost 700 children in North Devon during the spring and summer and hope to train another 1,000 through this school year, with funding provided by Cycle England," said Paul Marshall, North Devon PEDPASS development manager.

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"We value working closely with the Police Community Support Officers, who also deliver Bikeability in the area. Learning to ride a bike safely is a key part of helping young people to become independent.

"This was done in a piecemeal way up until now and there was no one co-ordinating it."

A number of PEDPASS Bikeability instructors have now been trained up and are ready to hold cycle training at schools across North Devon.

"We start out on school playgrounds to assess the skills of the children before we take them out on the road and gradually build up to exercises on junctions with medium traffic," explained instructor Dawn Connor.

"It is fantastic to see how much progress some children make during the course. We have been running the training for three months now and are very happy with the great response from the public so far."

Lisa Binmore, a teaching assistant at Landkey Primary School, added: "My sons Matthew and James both attended the course and I would definitely recommend Bikeability. It is a fun and friendly cycling course which helped them to get the skills and confidence needed to cycle on the roads."

PEDPASS is keen to hear from any schools which would like to hold Bikeability training for their Year 5, 6 and 7 pupils in the coming year. It is free to schools which are part of the PEDPASS partnership.

To register interest, visit www.nd-pedpass-partnership.org.uk or go to www.bikeability.org.uk to find out more about Bikeability.

Alternatively call Eric van der Horst, Bikeability Co-ordinator for Barnstaple, on 07954 962230 or Paul Marshall on 07875 010411.

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