Friday, 12 July 2013 12:56

Saint Paul’s Promotes the Health Benefits of Safe Cycling


Pupils at Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe are encouraged to cycle or walk to school in-line with the school’s policy to promote healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyles. To support this, Year 7 pupils at the school recently took part in the Bikeability scheme. This is the updated Cycling Proficiency Test, designed to give the pupils the skills and confidence to ride their bikes safely on today's roads.

The pupils’ training included how to control their bikes, being able to look and assess traffic, how to communicate and where to position themselves on the road.

Initially the sessions were based in the playground so that the instructor could assess the groups' bike handling ability and practise skills such as balance, control and observation without worrying about traffic. Once basic skills had been developed, the lessons moved onto the road, a vital step in raising awareness and putting the playground practice into a real-life situation.

Whilst at Saint Paul’s, the Bikeability instructors were also able to advise the pupils on safety equipment and how to check and do simple maintenance on their bikes.

“Cycling is an ideal form of transport for young people providing a healthy, cheap and environmentally friendly way to get about,” explained Ms Diane Keary, Head of Year 7 at Saint Paul’s. “The government recommends that young people should have a minimum of one hour’s moderate physical activity each date so that they stay healthy and help prevent serious illness in later life. Cycling to school is a simple and practical way of achieving this.”

Ms Keary added: “It is obviously vital that children can handle their bikes competently and that they know how to ride safely and with consideration for others. They need to learn about potential hazards and how to deal with traffic safely which is why we provide this training for them.”

“The course included basic road manoeuvres, assessing risks, holding good road positioning, awareness of traffic and a general understanding of the highway code. The pupils started off with basic riding techniques and then moved onto more challenging situations.”

“The course was not just about teaching children to ride a bike to national standards but also about introducing them to cycling as an everyday and fun activity and an alternative mode of transport. Cycling is a very efficient and eco-friendly way of getting around which we would like to encourage.”

“Getting children interested in cycling at an early age is a great way to encourage them to exercise,” commented Mr Wiktor Daron, Head Teacher at Saint Paul’s. “However, young people between 11 and 15 are most vulnerable on the roads, and only one-third of children ever do any cycle training so we wanted to emphasise the importance of training and safety to our pupils.”

 “By undergoing some training and by following a few simple safety rules, we hope we can make sure our pupils keep out of trouble on the roads.”

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