At the risk of slipping into some foggy, black and white nostalgia-fest, I loved taking my Cycling Proficiency badge when I was at school.

A yard at the back of the school had been set out as a “typical street” and one our teachers, a committed cyclist and biker, used to take the lessons. It was great and not just because we were out on our bikes in school time and had escaped the classroom for an hour.

We learned a lot of common sense lessons about road safety – whether on a bike, on two feet or even now whilst driving a car.

So I couldn’t help nodding my head enthusisatically as I read about moves to reintroduce the Cycling Proficiency Test to schools in England.

The launch of Bikeability next month comes after a successful pilot project which involved more than 5,000 children and the Government is investing £10m into children’s cycling. This will fund around half of all 10-year-olds to take the Bikeability course.

There are so many reasons why this scheme deserves to be a success.

It is fun, there are health benefits, it could help cut the gridlock congestion of the school run, it makes younger cyclists more aware of the safety issues – this last point is crucial, not least because in the 25 years since I took my badge the amount of traffic on our roads has increased enormously.

Of course, there are now many more dedicated cycle lanes around the country which helps cyclists avoid the traffic-clogged streets. Aren’t there?

Have a proper look around your town or city and particular the route from your home to the local school. Despite reports of added invested in dedicated cycle lanes, the provision of traffic-free routes in most parts of the country is woefully inadequate.

Many local authorities are attempting to reach suggested targets for cycle lanes. But that isn’t enough.

As an initiative created by the Warrington Cycle Campaign, has shown the designation of cycle lanes can often veer off the straight and narrow. Some cycle lanes simply don’t go anywhere and others are simply dangerous for cyclists, pedestrians and even motorists.

The Bikeability scheme is a positive step forward. Getting back on the bikes make sense on so many levels.

Yet it needs to form part of a wider campaign to improve our attitude towards cycling.

Advertisements

3 responses »

  1. Tudor says:

    A friend helped me choose a bike a few months ago., from a specialist He’s still a friend, but I think I needed a starter-bike with about sixteen fewer gears. I’m still wobbling around the few quiet by-roads close to home at present.

    Today, Sue and I will go to a nearer and smaller bike and auto shop, where she will get herself a bike. We should re-learn cycling more quickly together (after quite a lay-off). She will almost certainly pick one that works for her. I’m keeping silent…

    PS: Aston Business School. Do you cycle around the Bull Ring? Does anyone cycle around the Bull Ring?

  2. Paul Groves says:

    It is surprising how much you have to re-learn when you get back on a bike, particulkarly these days with so much traffic around.
    I don’t tend to cycle into Birmingham, mainly because of easy access to the main commuter trainline through the city. But Birmingham can be a good city to cycle around if you stick to the right places – the canal paths are good and there is a National Cycle Route that passes near my home straight to Aston. So, maybe, in the summer when the weather is better….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s