This Clean Air Day, the Bikeability Trust has announced that more than four million children have now been taught to cycle in England.
For the last 15 years Bikeability has been teaching children an essential life skill which helps them keep active and look after their mental wellbeing. Cycle training helps children live more sustainable lives and enables them to make greener transport choices.
If every child who has taken part in Bikeability cycled to school for a year, it would save almost two million tonnes of carbon from car-based school journeys.* This is enough to power 251,926 homes for a year. If just one child swapped to cycling for a year, it would save as much carbon as planting eight trees and letting them grow for ten years.
In 2020, the Government’s Gear Change report set out the ambition to offer every child and adult cycle training by 2025. Record funding of £20million from the government in 2022 will help Bikeability make progress to every child receiving this vital life skill.
The milestone was celebrated by Minister for Active Travel Trudy Harrison MP at a visit to a Bikeability session in Cumbria.
Cycling Minister Trudy Harrison MP said: “As we celebrate Clean Air Day, it’s always good to see children being active and developing the skills and road awareness to cycle confidently and safely.
“We’ve provided £20 million in Government funding so Bikeability Trust can deliver our shared aim to encourage as many people as possible to take up cycling. Not only is it a cheaper way to get about, it’s great for people’s mental health and physical fitness, and we’ll continue to support such worthwhile initiatives.”
Emily Cherry, Chief Executive at the Bikeability Trust, said: “I am so proud to reach the four million milestone and share the impact on Clean Air Day. Now four million children have confidence to cycle on our roads – helping to look after their own health and the health of the planet.
“To help reach government climate targets, we all need to make changes to our everyday lives. Swapping the car for cycling on short, everyday journeys is something simple we can all do. We know the importance of cycle training in helping you make that choice with confidence. It’s never been more important to give children the life skills they need to make more sustainable life choices.
“I’d like to thank everybody that’s helped Bikeability achieve this milestone. Including our 3,000 strong workforce of instructors, who are out every day, helping to raise the next generation of cyclists.”
Maisie Metcalfe, 11, from Warwickshire, completed her Bikeability training in 2021. She said: “ Since I completed my Bikeability I’ve started playing out with my friend on our bikes. Before Bikeability my parents would bug me about safety but now I’m more confident, so they let us out on our bikes.
“Cycling makes me feel really happy, now I’m trying to get my daddy to cycle to my Nan’s with me. I really like cycling because it’s good exercise and it’s so much fun!”
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