Heywood kids are road savvy after cycling safety awareness courses
Date published: 04 May 2021
Children on the level one Bikeability course
Heywood children have gained a new sense of road safety awareness after Bikeability courses were carried out over the Easter holidays.
After repeated concerns from local residents about drivers speeding around the Vista’s estate off Green Lane, especially given the number of children which live and play in the area, one resident, Helen Morton, decided to tackle the issue and got in touch with Bikeability, which offers free road safety lessons for children in the borough.
Helen said: “There’s been a few near misses on the estate with people driving fast and the kids being out and about. I thought rather than complain about the issue, I’d try and do something so I got in touch with Bikeability to see if they could offer road safety lessons.”
Fully-funded by Bikeability, two free courses for different age groups were carried out (level one and level two).
Students gain practical skills and understanding of how to cycle on busy roads as well as building their confidence for any type of cycling.
During the training students are also taught about the importance of bike maintenance to ensure that their bikes remain roadworthy.
Helen added: “The kids loved it. At first I think they thought it was about teaching them how to ride a bike, but it wasn’t, it was more than that.
“You can tell the children have been talking to each other about what they’ve learnt as some children who didn’t do the courses have been signalling correctly and looking before cycling into the road. If it stops the near misses, at least I’ve done my bit.
“Easter was the perfect time for this, as many of the children have started playing out more with the lighter evenings and lockdown restrictions lifting.
“We just need to stop the drivers speeding in the area now and educate the adults!”
The council’s highways team is in the process of arranging for a 20mph sign to be installed at the junction of Green Lane and Adam Street. It is hoped this signage will help to address the speeding concerns.
Each child who took part in the Bikeability course is to receive a special certificate and badge, whilst those who completed the level two course will also receive a handbook.
Helen is aiming for the Bikeability courses to become an annual event, and is considering a refresher course in the summer.
Bikeability is based on the government’s National Standard for cycle and instructor training. It prepares people to cycle everywhere cycling is permitted, and contributes to delivering the transport, environmental, health and economic benefits that more people cycling promises.
Bikeability is a progressive programme in which trainees first master cycle handling skills in traffic-free environments (Level 1), then develop the skills and confidence to cycle on local roads and simple junctions (Level 2), before tackling often busier, multi-lane roads and complex junctions (Level 3).
Additional ‘Bikeability Plus’ modules aim to increase the take up of Bikeability training in schools and its impact on children’s cycling.
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