Council backing free lessons to make pupils confident on roads

TEENAGERS are being offered council-funded cycling lessons in an attempt to increase the number of children cycling to school and cut the number of accidents involving youngsters.

Sheffield Council has an agreement with city-based cycling charity Pedal Ready to supply free lessons to anybody who lives in the city as part of its green transport policy.

But a recent review of the arrangement showed that virtually no teenagers were taking up the offer, even though they are most likely to be involved in accidents while on a bike.

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Claire Molyneux, Sheffield's principal road safety officer, said: "We'd like to help more teenagers cycle to school safely and confidently.

"Currently 2,000 primary school children are having free cycling lessons and there's no reason secondary school pupils shouldn't get some tuition too so they are confident about cycling to school."

Three secondary schools, Fir Vale, Hinde House and Ecclesfield have taken up the offer of the free tuition which takes place during PE or citizenship lessons.

As well as road skills, the youngsters are being given tips on cycle maintenance. Fir Vale teacher Dougal Partington said the scheme had given some children a new lease of life.

"We already have quite a few students who cycle to school in the warmer months, but it will great to see more of them confidently using the roads and realising the new freedom it offers them." Pedal Ready worker Carl Beresford said one of the main attractions of cycling for young people is that it offers them a way to travel without having to wait for buses or lifts from parents.

He added: "The aim is to work with young people to help them cycle safely, confidently and considerately. There's nothing dangerous about cycling but its still worth taking a bit of time to learn a few simple tips about how to feel safe and confident."