Kids to get on their bikes

Pre-5 children across the region are being given the opportunity to learn to ride a bike.
Pre-5 children across the region are being given the opportunity to learn to ride a bike.

Nursery children across the county 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 successfully for funding from Smarter Choices, Smarter Places to buy balance bikes and helmets for young people in early learning settings in the area, including in Rothesay, in order to introduce them to cycling at a young age.

The 24 nursery schools to benefit 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 co-ordination, 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.”