Lib Dem call to extend provision of cycle training in schools

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More than a third of primary schools do not offer cycle training to pupils, according to figures gathered by the Liberal Democrats.

The party’s data revealed a wide variation in the provision of lessons across Scotland’s councils in 2016/17, with as few as one in three schools offering training in some areas.

The Lib Dems have called on the Scottish Government to ensure every primary pupil has access.

The figures show that 62% of Scotland’s schools offer some training, with the majority of councils having no plans to extend their current provision.

In some local authorities – including Glasgow, East Ayrshire and the Shetland Islands – all schools offer training, however in others, provision is much more limited.

For example, only 14% of schools in Falkirk offer some training, while in North Lanarkshire, the figure is 23%.

Access to loan bicycles also varies for pupils across the different council areas.

Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles said: “This Christmas thousands of children across Scotland will be excitedly unwrapping bikes for the first time.

“But cycling should not just be for those whose parents can afford it, and the chance to acquire road safety skills shouldn’t depend on where you live.

“Every child should have the opportunity to learn how to keep themselves safe on a bike on our roads.

“That’s why Scottish Liberal Democrats believe that cycling should be encouraged and every school child should have access to bicycle safety training, with bike loan facilities to ensure they don’t miss out.

“In the recent parliamentary debate on active travel, ministers accepted my amendment calling for all young people to have access to cycle training. Now I want to see the Scottish Government manage this roll-out to all primary schools as quickly as possible.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “Cycle training is offered to all schools in Scotland through local authorities by the Transport Scotland-funded bikeability programme, coordinated through Cycling Scotland.

“Our ambition is for every child in every school in Scotland to have the opportunity to learn to cycle safely and gain confidence on the road.

“Over 15,000 three to four year-olds, living in 25 local authorities, have taken part in the play on pedals programme, giving them the opportunity to learn to ride a bike in nursery. Over 231,000 children have taken part in bikeability cycle training since 2010.

“The Programme for Government doubled the budget for active travel from £40 million to £80 million a year and this will help to ensure that the right cycle training is delivered at the right stage of education.”

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