Pre-5 children across Argyll and Bute are being given the opportunity to learn to ride a bike thanks to Argyll and Bute Council’s Road Safety Team.
The council currently offers iCycle training to all primary six and seven pupils, but over the last few years officers have noticed a gradual increase in the number of young people who cannot ride a bike by this stage.
The team applied for funding from Smarter Choices, Smarter Places (SCSP) to buy balance bikes and helmets for young people in early learning settings in the area, in order to introduce them to cycling at a young age.
The application was successful and bikes were given to the following Early Learning and Childcare providers: Lochnell, Port Charlotte, Port Ellen, Bowmore, Keills, Small Isles, Kilchattan, Kirn, Arrochar, Dunbeg, Inveraray, Garelochead, Tayvallich, Carradale, Rhu, Kilcreggan, Rothesay, Tiree, Colgrain, Dalmally, Inveraray, Park, Dalintober andPatchwork 2-5 Nursery. These schools were chosen due to their positive response to road safety education or iCycle training. The Road Safety Team plans to apply for further funding next year.
The Council’s Depute Policy Lead for Roads and Amenity Services, Councillor Ellen Morton said: “Riding a balance bike has many benefits. It enables children to develop their gross motor skills, spatial awareness, dynamic and static balance and coordination, all whilst having fun.
“These skills make the transition to an ordinary pedal bike so much easier. It is also early awareness of road safety as the children learn about wearing their helmet and using their brakes.
“Hopefully this initiative will encourage more families to cycle and think about this as a choice for short journeys. In time these children may also decide to cycle to school, reducing the congestion at school gates.”