Argyll and Bute Council, working in partnership with North Ayrshire Council, has developed a new cycle training programme called iCycle
iCycle takes the form of a one-stop shop website, printed materials and training videos for cycle trainers.
This new resource is informed by and linked to the Curriculum for Excellence and was developed in consultation with experienced trainers and young people.
Piloted in 2013, iCycle has now been independently evaluated by Community Health Research and Evaluation (CHRE) through Transport Scotland.
The evaluation concluded that the new iCycle resource had developed a comprehensive approach to cycle training in Argyll and Bute and, crucially, had listened to and acted on the ideas and comments of the people the programme was designed for.
The feedback has been very positive, particularly for the video clips, and the programme is already having an impact on the confidence and cycling ability of young people throughout the region.
Caroline Fothergill, Head Teacher of Dalmally Primary School, said: ‘’The new iCycle resource is absolutely excellent. It covers all the main areas of Curriculum for Excellence and is presented clearly. It is an excellent tool for teachers - saving us a whole lot of hard work!’’
Cycle training is offered to all schools in Argyll and Bute in P6 and P7 and taken up by 77 of the 79 primary schools. On-road training takes place in 73 of Argyll and Bute Council schools meaning 95% of the primary schools across Argyll and Bute receive the iCycle training programme on-road – this is higher than any other local authority in Scotland and well above the national average for on- road cycle training which is only 37.6%.
Children learn basic cycle manoeuvres – starting, stopping, left turn, right turn, overtake and emergency stop – over a 6-8 week period.
The Road Safety Unit trains the trainers – parent volunteers and teachers – who then train the children.
Policy Lead for Strategic Transportation, Councillor Duncan MacIntyre, said: ‘’This new resource is a great way to help cycle trainers teach our children the basics of cycling safely. Our road safety team worked closely with parents and children in developing this programme and we are very pleased with it.
“Argyll and Bute Council is committed to investing in active travel. As highlighted within the last Spokes survey of local authorities for 2013 Argyll and Bute Council spend, from sources internal and external, was £7.40 per head of population investment in cycling. This placed Argyll and Bute Council in the top three local authorities with the highest investment per head of population in cycling across Scotland.
‘’The feedback from the kids on iCycle has been overwhelmingly positive, with over 88% of those who have been through the programme now feeling much more confident on their bikes.’’
Parents reported that their children were cycling to school more often after the iCyle training, up from 28% up to 51%.
The website www.icycle.org.uk went live in early February.