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Easy riders get set for the road; Thousands of pupils to be taught cycling safety.

Byline: VICKY ROBSON

THOUSANDS of youngsters are to benefit from a scheme to get them on their bikes.

Newcastle City Council has been awarded a grant of pounds 130,000 as part of the National Standard Cycle training scheme to help primary pupils stay safe on the saddle.

It aims to give children the confidence to ride to school by teaching road safety skills and building confidence through a series of intensive sessions in schools throughout Newcastle.

More than 3,000 youngsters in Years 5 and 6 will benefit from the scheme when they take part in the advanced training classes.

One of the schools taking part is Wharrier Street Primary School, Walker.

Pupils showed their skills at a lesson in preparation for the new programme due to start this year.

Road safety services officer Cheryl Ford said: "Children love to cycle and want to be out on their bikes.

"Despite fears for safety on the journey to and from school, parents and carers are willing to let children play out of bike on an evening and at weekends.

"We need to ensure that children have the skills to keep them safe, and National Standard will help them achieve this.

"National Standard Cycle training in Newcastle will fit in and support the existing services we are providing through the road safety team in a fun and educational way.

"It will help promote cycling for future generations as it is a fun, healthy, convenient and cheap way to travel." The grant will pay for National Standard level trainers to teach pupils how to be safe on their bikes.

Sessions involve teaching youngsters, aged between nine and 11, National Standard levels and include skills such as arm signals and bike repairs.

It also aims to improve cycling skills to encourage their use to help protect the local environment.

Schools in the city already take part in cycle proficiency training as part of the road safety programme in Year 4. But National Standard Cycle training aims to provide an advanced approach and build on basic cycling proficiency.

Children start their learning away from traffic before moving through different levels of the training before they can go out in traffic..

CAPTION(S):

IN THE SADDLE: Jiri More, above, of Wharrier Street Primary; below other pupils taking part during; right, Caitlin Brown
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 20, 2009
Words:387
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