Rochester and Strood MP Kelly Tolhurst has shared concern that in Medway just 37.2% of years 5 and 6 children received training via the recommended Government-funded programme, Bikeability, 30.3% below the national average.
Kelly Tolhurst will be working with Medway Council and local schools to make sure every child that wants to learn how to ride a bike safely, gets the opportunity to do so.
Limited access to government-funded cycle training undermines a key gateway to independence, hindering children’s ability to move around freely. In most cases, cycling and walking should be the obvious choice for travelling short distances and safety training will help encourage children to make this part of their routine.
As well as access to cycle training, national bike ownership for children aged 5 – 10 and 11 – 16 has dropped by 6% and 7% respectively in the last decade . And recent statistics suggest that as few as 4% of children are cycling to school – compared to 40% in Holland and 81% in Denmark – despite the average journey being shorter than two miles. The positive impact of cycling to school has been proven in recent studies, which found that children who cycle demonstrate increased levels of concentration, compared with those that travel by car, bus or train.
Commenting on today’s figures, Kelly Tolhurst said,
“These statistics are concerning and it is not right that children in our area are missing out on such an important life skill, whether it be for leisure or as an alternative commute to school or work later in life.
“Every child should have access to a bike and be able to ride confidently and safely, and I will be campaigning to make sure everyone in our area does.
“Cycling is important for our young people’s health and social-wellbeing so I will be working alongside the Council to see where we can encourage to take advantage of this important scheme.”