Ross launches non-mandatory national bicycle training

Transport minister Shane Ross today launched Cycle Right, a non-mandatory National Cycling Training Standard for both school children and adults.
As IrishCycle.com reported last September, when the scheme was supposed to launch, the training scheme was delayed until this month.

However, details of the roll out to schools, the access of training for aduilts, and information for trainers or would-be trainers were not released today.

“The Cycle Right will be delivered in different environments, from schools to businesses to community group settings,” it is stated on the Cycle Right page of the Department of Transport’s Smarter Travel website.

Today, the department said that Cycle Right was developed by “a partnership steering committee consisting of a wide-range of stakeholders”, including the department it self, the Road Safety Authority, Cycling Ireland, An Garda Síochána, An Táisce’s Green Schools section, Coaching Ireland and representatives of local authorities.

In a press release, Ross said: “I am delighted to announce that my Department is funding the national roll-out of Cycle Right – the new national cycle training standard – to primary schools for 2017. This new standard, that includes an on-road element of training, will ensure that we have, for the first time, a standardised level of cycle training around the country.”

He added: “The increase in numbers cycling to work in recent years has been striking – in the canal cordon area of Dublin this has more than doubled over the last 10 years. However, what is also striking is that we are not seeing any significant growth in the numbers of children cycling to school. They are the cyclists of tomorrow and we need to give them the skills and confidence to begin cycling now, so that they will develop sustainable travel habits at an early age that they can carry into later life. Safety is at the core of Cycle Right and this new training standard will give children the skills and confidence to cycle safely.”

“I hope that the roll-out of this initiative, following the special meeting of the Ministerial Committee on Road Safety I held last week, shows my commitment to improving road safety and reducing the number of fatalities that affected so many families in 2016. We must all pay more attention on the roads and remember to take particular care around vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians. I was delighted to launch the programme and to see the excitement of the children in learning how to cycle safely.”

“It is important that parents support this initiative and use this opportunity to look again at how their children travel to school. I know, from my discussions with my colleagues the Minister for Health and Minister for Children that childhood obesity is a pressing issue and that active travel to school, be that by cycling or walking is very important in addressing this. I hope that Cycle Right will encourage more parents and children to choose cycling as a means of travel to school,” said Ross.

6 Comments

  1. Leinster Wheeler January 18, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    There are approximately 550,000 primary school pupils nationally which works out at 68,750 pupils per school year (over 8 years). It is proposed that 40,000 pupils will receive training each year, which is approx 60% of pupils per year. It is not 100% but realistically,many schools have little potential for cycling. It would be better for additional funding to go into infrastructure than ensuring that cycle training is offered to everyone.

  2. Just because a school has little potential for cycling does not mean that the students can’t benefit from cycle training. Even so, I think this should be rebranded as road training. A lot of people don’t seem to realise that walking out in to the road while looking at your iPhone is a bad idea.

    My main worry is what this training might consist of. Will this be the AAs version of how to cycle a bike. When it doubt don’t cycle. If you must cycle remember you have to yield to cars in every situation. Stay as far to the left as possible, if your rims aren’t scraping the kerb you aren’t safe.

    While cyclists can, and do, do a lot to affect their own safety this press release seems to be suggesting that cyclist safety lies entirely with the cyclist. This is odd since there are lots of stats indicating that the motorist is at fault in the majority of collisions. No amount of cycling training will make you safe when a driver who is texting at the wheel drifts on to your side of the road.

    Is Ross sure that this isn’t mandatory? Perhaps there is a secret note indicating that if you read it just right this training is a legal requirement.

  3. Stephen McManus January 19, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    I’ve been cycling with my kids to school every day for the last six years. They are trained to identify risky drivers and know how to position themselves in a safe but assertive way on the road. I just hope that when this new training hits their school they don’t try to introduce fear and excessively defensive ideas.

  4. Cyclist.ie – The Irish Cycling Advocacy Network – has seen the ‘Cycle Right’ syllabus which our partners in Cycling Ireland developed. It is similar to the UK Department for Transport’s ‘Bikeability’ programme, which many of us have undertaken, at some expense.
    Both programmes ensure that riders know how to position themselves in traffic and to make judgements about risk in traffic under different conditions.
    However we are still at the mercy of a cohort of drivers of motorised vehicles who hate cyclists and don’t want us impeding their progress. Nothing is being done by authorities to tackle this threat.
    The penalties faced by such drivers are not severe enough to change behaviour. It’s only €60 and a paltry 1 penalty-point for driving in a cycle track.

  5. **The penalties faced by such drivers are not severe enough to change behavior. It’s only €60 and a paltry 1 penalty-point for driving in a cycle track**

    IF a gard even bothers their arse to try and prosecute…..

  6. The RSA has statistics on penalty points. The latest figures seem to be for Nov 2016 and they say that out of the 750,000+ penalty notices 35 (yes that’s 35, not 35,000) were for “Driving on/across cycle track”.

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