Cycling proficiency

With Edinburgh being a signatory of the Charter of Brussels, committing the city to 15% of all journeys made in 2020 to be by bike, and the Scottish Government’s own target of 10% of all journeys taken in Scotland will be by bike [by 2020]”  it is important that our children and young people are educated in how to cycle safely, legally and well.

In August of 2011, a constituent contacted me and asked me to investigate the funding for cycle training. I tabled a number of Parliamentary Questions, the answers to which are below and wrote to Edinburgh City Council directly.

From these answers, it is clear that only 1/3 of Scotland’s young people currently get some sort of “bikeability” training. It’s not nearly enough if we, as a nation, aspire to be confident, safe cyclists. 

Edinburgh City Council’s response to my letter is available here.

Questions on Cycle Funding

To ask the Scottish Executive what funding it has given to (a) Sustrans and (b) each local authority in Cycling, Walking and Safer Streets grant in each year since 2007.

Answered by Keith Brown (08/11/2011): Since 2007, the Scottish Government has allocated the following grants to Sustrans for developing the National Cycle Network and other active travel projects; and Local Authorities for Cycling, Walking and Safer Streets projects:

Recipient(£ million) 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12
Sustrans 8.3 5.015 4.150 7.67 5.384


CWSS Allocation (£000) 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12
Aberdeen City 365 365 365 365 307
Aberdeenshire 412 412 412 412 350
Angus 191 191 191 191 158
Argyll and Bute 163 163 163 163 129
Clackmannanshire 86 86 86 86 73
Dumfries and Galloway 262 262 262 262 213
Dundee City 249 249 249 249 206
East Ayrshire 212 212 212 212 173
East Dunbartonshire 191 191 191 191 150
East Lothian 170 170 170 170 139
East Renfrewshire 165 165 165 165 128
Edinburgh, city of 818 818 818 818 686
Eilean Siar 45 45 45 45 38
Falkirk 267 267 267 267 219
Fife 639 639 639 639 522
Glasgow City 1021 1021 1021 1021 845
Highland 374 374 374 374 317
Inverclyde 146 146 146 146 115
Midlothian 149 149 149 149 116
Moray 154 154 154 154 126
North Ayrshire 241 241 241 241 195
North Lanarkshire 579 579 579 579 468
Orkney 34 34 34 34 29
Perth and Kinross 247 247 247 247 209
Renfrewshire 304 304 304 304 244
Scottish Borders 196 196 196 196 162
Shetland 40 40 40 40 32
South Ayrshire 199 199 199 199 160
South Lanarkshire 544 544 544 544 446
Stirling 160 160 160 160 127
West Dunbartonshire 164 164 164 164 130
West Lothian 303 303 303 303 246
Total 9,090,000 9,090,000 9,090,000 9,090,000 7,458
Current Status: Answered by Keith Brown on 08/11/2011
To ask the Scottish Executive what information it holds on (a) cycling and (b) cycle training being incorporated into PE lessons.

Answered by Michael Russell (15/09/2011): This information is not collected centrally. It is for schools to determine, preferably in consultation with pupils, what to provide for young people in terms of physical education, physical activity and sport in ways which meet local needs and circumstances. The government believes it is important that this flexibility is maintained.
Current Status: Answered by Michael Russell on 15/09/2011
To ask the Scottish Executive what support it gives to local authorities for the provision of cycle proficiency training to schoolchildren.

Answered by Michael Russell (15/09/2011): The Scottish Government provides grant funding to Cycling Scotland for the cycle training programme called Bikeability Scotland, which allows local authorities to make bids to Cycling Scotland for resources which enables more cycle training to take place.Additionally, local authorities will receive £7.458 million of Cycling, Walking and Safer Streets grant this year for local projects. If local authorities wished to invest this funding on cycling infrastructure and training resources they would be free to do so.
Current Status: Answered by Michael Russell on 15/09/2011
To ask the Scottish Executive whether it considers that cycle proficiency training for schoolchildren should be provided by trained members of teaching staff.

Answered by Michael Russell (15/09/2011): Cycle training in schools is co-ordinated by the local authority and is provided by volunteers, teaching staff, Road Safety Officers, School Travel and Active Schools Coordinators all of whom have had cycle trainer training.In March 2011, Cycling Scotland launched a new cycle training package called Bikeability Scotland which for the first time brings all three levels of cycle training, including what used to be called Cycle Proficiency Training and subsequently the Scottish Cycle Training Scheme, under one banner. As part of this package, anyone wishing to deliver cycle training can undertake a cycle trainer qualification which is aligned to the UK National Standard for delivery of cycle training in schools.
Current Status: Answered by Michael Russell on 15/09/2011
To ask the Scottish Executive whether it considers that cycle proficiency training should be mandatory for all schoolchildren.

Answered by Michael Russell (15/09/2011): The provision of cycle proficiency training for schoolchildren, re-launched by Cycling Scotland earlier this year as Bikeability Scotland, is a valuable resource for all schools. Its provision is planned by a partnership of schools, police and local authority road safety units. The Scottish Government has no plans to introduce regulations to require local authorities to provide mandatory cycle training for all schoolchildren.Local authorities are responsible for road safety on the local road network. The 1988 Road Traffic Act puts a ‘statutory duty’ on local authorities to deliver an appropriate road safety education service and for the provision of a safe local road network. This includes education and facilities for all road users including pedestrians and cyclists.
Current Status: Answered by Michael Russell on 15/09/2011
To ask the Scottish Executive what action it takes to encourage greater uptake of sustainable transport options.

Answered by Keith Brown (31/08/2011): The Scottish Government is encouraging greater uptake of sustainable options through support and funding for a wide variety of initiatives, including the development of cycling and walking infrastructure; promotion of alternative means of transport via travel planning (in workplaces, households and schools); the establishment of a network of car clubs; promotion of low carbon vehicles; development of public transport and freight modal shift.The Scottish Government remains committed to its ambitious vision in the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland that by 2020, 10 percent of all journeys in Scotland will be made by bike. Since 2007, the Scottish Government has invested over £81 million in infrastructure and softer measures to encourage more active travel, particularly focussing on cycling (and walking). This includes funding to local authorities for Cycling, Walking and Safer Streets projects; to Sustrans for route development, and to Cycling Scotland for promotional activities such as the very successful Pedal for Scotland annual bike ride between Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as child cycle training (Bikeability Scotland).The publication Low Carbon Scotland: Meeting the Emissions Reductions Targets 2010-2022 (the Report on Proposals and Policies), published in March 2011, outlines three themes for the development of sustainable transport in the coming decade, i.e., driving more efficiently; widening travel choices, and reducing the need to travel. Support for the delivery of these proposals is currently being considered within the context of the current Spending Review negotiations.

Current Status: Answered by Keith Brown on 31/08/2011


I have also received the following email from Marilyne MacLaren (April 2012) outlining recent developments on bikeability in Edinburgh Schools: 120518 Bikeability in Edinburgh