Scotland Prepares for Universal Cycle Training

Posted by chdot on February 10, 2007

One sure way of encouraging a future generation of cyclists is to give upper primary school pupils quality cycle training. This is something cycle campaigners have been calling for for YEARS!

It now seems a step closer with the issuing of a tender for “goods to support the delivery of cycle training throughout Scotland” and the announcement of “free cycle instructor training”.

At the end of last year the Scottish Executive gave money to Cycling Scotland to enable Cycle Training to be more widely available. The tender is for 60,000 “reflective safety waistcoats” – enough for every P6 child in Scotland – along with reflective ‘snap’ arm bands, portable road signs and activity kits.

The trainer training programme is aimed at School Travel Coordinators, Active School Coordinators and “Volunteer Development Groups”, and will allow candidates to cascade training for Ready, Steady Bike and the Scottish Cycle Training Scheme to volunteer trainers. There are five 4 day courses running in various parts of Scotland including Edinburgh in March.

Cycle Training provision in Scotland has always been patchy. In some areas the responsibility is with the local authority. In others (including Edinburgh) it is run by the Police. Lothian and Borders Police intend to relinquish this in August, using their resources to concentrate on young drivers. Perhaps more widely available cycle training will mean that future drivers will understand road safety issues better…

Cycle campaigners have long argued that the best solution is for cycle training to be provided by paid trainers (as happens in many council areas in England). It should be a normal part of the school curriculum. At present more progressive Head Teachers have CT in school time. In other schools it is either a voluntary after-school activity or doesn’t happen at all.

It will be interesting to see if all trainers are required to be cyclists. At present volunteers (often parents) are not always cyclists, some aren’t drivers either. It is unlikely that schools would allow unpaid swimming instructors who couldn’t swim.

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