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New bike course aims to reduce road deaths
Buy this photo » Richard Mann from Cyclox, riding in Frideswide Square has welcomed the councils’ new free adult cycle training. Picture: OX57962 Ed Nix
FREE cycle safety sessions are being launched in Oxford to try to cut high death rates.
Some 58 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in Oxfordshire in 2011 – compared to just 27 in 2001.
Bikeability is the modern day cycling proficiency scheme often carried out in schools, but the training is being rolled out free of charge for adults in the city for the first time.
City council sustainable energy officer Jenny Carr said: “It’s exactly the same type of training as cycling proficiency – basic training to boost confidence and awareness.
“This is the first time it has been offered to adults in the city for free, because we realise it’s not just children who need that help.”
The news that the sessions will be provided free of charge has been welcomed by campaigners.
The city council will fund the £2,000 project and the sessions will be delivered by the county council.
Cyclox campaign group chairman and West Oxford resident, Richard Mann, 43, said: “I think it’s excellent that the city and county are supporting this.
“If people are concerned about getting out on a bike for the first time in the city, this training is an excellent way of finding out how to manage with the traffic and gain some confidence.”
He said similar sessions had previously been put on by Oxford University, but it is the first time the councils have sponsored them.
Botley resident Lisa Harker, 43, lost her unborn child when she was seriously hurt in an accident with an 18-tonne lorry as it turned left into Roger Dudman Way in April 2004.
She said: “I think safety measures and support with training are always welcome, particularly when people are unsure about how to cycle on the roads.
“However, if the council is putting its energy into requiring cyclists to take more care I hope they do the same for drivers. It has to be a shared responsibility.”
City executive board member for city development Colin Cook said: “These courses are fantastic as they give people the confidence to cycle in Oxford, which can be a challenging experience. I hope people will take up these free courses and enjoy them.”
Booking is essential as places are limited and the classes are expected to be popular.
All learners just need their bike and helmet. Routine bike checks will also be included and an initial assessment of cycling experience and training will be used to adapt the course to each person’s needs.
- To take part, email DHaynes@oxford.gov.uk or call 01865 252566. For more information, see dft.gov.uk/bikeability