Tom Brake MP Brushes Up On His Bikeability Skills

June 17, 2008 10:30 AM
All Party Parliamentary Bike Ride showcases benefits of cycle training

Tom Brake MP centre (just to the right of Emily Thornberry MP in red). Photo by Marcus Ahmad.

Tom Brake MP for Carshalton and Wallington joined a group of more than 25 fellow MPs and peers who donned their cycle helmets and saddled up to participate in a Bikeability training session as part of the annual All Party Parliamentary Bike Ride last Tuesday in London.

The cycling contingent departed from the Department for Transport and followed a route of cycle lanes, terminating in front of the Palace of Westminster. MPs took a pit stop outside the Imperial War Museum to be put through their paces by a Bikeability cycle instructor and to demonstrate the benefits of learning how to ride a bike safely.

Tom, who is a keen cyclist and is often seen cycling around Carshalton and Wallington said, "Bikeability is about giving kids the skills they need to tackle today's busy streets. Bikeability's training and tips will really boost children's confidence and make them much safer on the roads."

Bikeability is the 21st century cycling proficiency test, designed to give children and young people the skills and confidence to cycle on today's roads. MPs were given a taster of both Level 1 Bikeability - assessing bike control, emergency stopping and indicating - and Level 2 which takes trainees onto the roads, encouraging them to be confident and make eye contact with drivers.

Recent research by Cycling England revealed the need for more cycling training for young people to halt the rise of the 'cul-de-sac kids' - children restricted to cycling circuits of their immediate road or neighbourhood streets by parents who are worried about their safety. Over three quarters of parents (81%) ban their children from cycling independently, or limit their children's cycling to circuits of their immediate road or neighbourhood streets. Cycling England hopes to reverse this trend by channeling a significant proportion of the £140m it was awarded by the Government earlier this year to help half a million children cycle safely and a generation of adults to rediscover their bikes through Bikeability.

The Parliamentary cycle ride took place ahead of Bike Week (14-22 June) this week - one of the UK's biggest annual promotions of cycling, providing a national umbrella for locally organised events and activities up and down the country.

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