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Bikeability gets more children cycling safely to school

Friday 20 November 2020

Jersey Sport have recently delivered the new Bikeability cycle training programme to six local primary schools, with pupils at St Mary’s Primary School completing both Levels 1 and 2 – helping them to gain the confidence and skills required to cycle safely on the roads to school.

Bikeability is the UK Department for Transport’s national award for cycle training. The new cycle training programme supports the ambition of Move More Travel within the Inspiring an Active Jersey Strategy – whereby active travel (walking, running and cycling) is prioritised over motorised travel in the island, with high standards of safety and accessibility.

Over the last three months, Jersey Sport Cycling Officers have been delivering the Level 1 Bikeability programme to children in Years 5 and 6 of local primary schools, including Les Landes, La Moye, Mont Nicolle, Bel Royal, St Lawrence and St Mary’s.

More recently, 18 children in Year 6 from St Mary’s Primary School have completed Level 2 Bikeability, which teaches them how to cycle safely and responsibly on the roads. The training enables the pupils to start and stop on road journeys, negotiate junctions, teaches them to safely share the road with others, respond to hazards, communicate with road users and learn all the required hand signals, road signs and road markings.

Maria Stegenwalner Headteacher at St Mary’s Primary School said, “Bikeability Levels 1 and 2 have been a fantastic experience for Year 6.  Knowing how to keep themselves safe when cycling around the parish of St Mary has already seen an increase in the number of children cycling to school.  It’s been a pleasure to see them so confident, and road aware.  The team from Jersey Sport have been great, and their skill and enthusiasm, and the excellent organisation of the programme has inspired the children to get more active.

Rachel Smith, Year 6 Teacher at St Mary’s Primary School added, “Completing Bikeability has been a fabulous opportunity for my class and I am so proud of them. They weren’t all confident cyclists at the beginning, but they all now feel more confident on the road. Half the class now cycle to and from school.

It’s great to see them being so independent and the physical activity at the start of the day sets them up for the day ahead. It also reduces the volume of traffic around the school, which in turn reduces the amount of time required for drop off and pick up. The Jersey Sport coaches were excellent, with high regard for safety and we are all grateful to Laura and her team for facilitating this course in such an effective way. The class really enjoyed it and learned a great deal.  All we need now are some more bike racks!

Bikeability will have a phased role out across all Jersey primary schools. Upon completion of each cycle training course, children are awarded a Bikeability certificate.

Laura Riley, Cycle Training and School Events Officer at Jersey Sport explained, “Teaching children how to ride a bike safely on the roads is such an important life skill that sets them on a path to leading a more active lifestyle. They can cycle to school safely, with confidence and enjoy all cycling has to offer, whilst reaping all the physical benefits. We hope to see them continue cycling into adulthood, commuting to work on a bike, when the time comes.”

And here’s what some of the children from St Mary’s Primary School had to say about their Bikeability cycle training:

  • We learnt a lot and now I know what all the road signs mean.” Lauren
  • I really enjoyed it and now I know I can cycle on the road safely.” Carter
  • It was great fun and now I feel more confident on my bike.” James
  • It was exciting and we learned all about the core functions: observation, position, communication, priority.” Morgan
  • Before I was nervous to go on the road and now I feel more confident.” Leo
  • I really enjoy going on the road now because before I didn’t feel that safe.” Jess
  • There is a big group of us now who cycle to school and it feels good because it’s better than cycling alone.” Noah
  • This morning we were all cycling in a group and it felt safe and fun to be independent.” Harry

To find out more about the ambitions and delivery of Move More Travel in the Inspiring an Active Jersey Strategy, please visit:
https://www.jerseysport.je/about-us/strategy/move-more-jersey/active-travel/

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