— Programme “widely piloted and very well received” says Cycling Ireland
— 40,000 primary schools pupils expected to be trained annually
Ireland’s forthcoming cycling safety training standard, Cycle Right, will not be launched this month as previously expected, the Minister for Transport Shane Ross has said.
The voluntary national standard is expected to be somewhat similar to UK’s national cycling training standard, which is underpinned by the Bikeability programme. Under the UK standard, private trainers teach both school children and adults. Some UK councils also offer free training to residents.
The UK standard was heavily influenced by Cyclecraft, a book which is often cited as recommended reading in Irish cycling circles. For some, Cyclecraft is seen as a bible, while others only view it as a survival guide while waiting for cycling-friendly roads and streets. The Netherlands and Denmark also have cycling training, mainly aimed at children and immigrants.
On May 2016, a written parliamentary reply in the transport minister’s name, said that “Cycle Right will roll out nationally in primary schools from September 2016”. But on September 16, a second ministerial reply, available at kildarestreet.com, said: “I expect that Cycle Right will roll out nationally from January 2017. “
Explaining the situation with Cycle Right in May, minister Ross said: “My Department is funding the development and roll-out of Cycle Right the new national cycling training standard, developed by Cycling Ireland with the involvement of stakeholders including the RSA, An Garda Síochána, An Taisce (who operate the Green Schools Scheme), Coaching Ireland and local authorities.”
He added: “Cycle Right training aims to give trainees the confidence, skill and road safety knowledge to use their bike to get places safely. Over a series of stages, cyclists will increase their proficiency and safe journeying on the road network. A key element to this training will be the rules of the road.”
Cycling Ireland said that the programme had been “widely piloted and very well received”, but that there was a delay around financial and other support systems which are needed to “firmly establish Cycle Right from the outset”.
“Cycling Ireland, as the body tasked with the development of Cycle Right, the national standard, by the Department of Transport, has been advised that the target launch date is January 2017. This deferral from the original date is to allow the Department of Transport to put in place the necessary financial and other support systems needed to firmly establish Cycle Right from the outset,” said Barbara Connolly, cycling standard development officer at Cycling Ireland.
Connolly said: “The trainer resources required to deliver the new programme, as well as course and training materials, are completed and on standby awaiting the launch date. The programme has also been widely piloted and very well received.
“It will be marvellous to have Cycle Right out in schools and communities early next year training participants to cycle safely, and hopefully using the training they receive to move towards more active, healthy lifestyles. It is anticipated that Stage One of Cycle Right will be accessible to primary schools across the country which could lead to an eventual uptake of over 40,000 pupils annually,” she added.