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Training refresher course to get students cycling safely
STUDENTS are to be offered free cycle training after Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood raised the issue in a parliamentary cycling debate.
Oxford University Student Union was contacted by cycling organisation CTC following the debate to offer free training.
And the aim of the scheme is to offer a refresher to students who may not have ridden a bike since they were youngsters – to ensure they are not a hazard when on the road.
Dan Tomlinson, vice president for charities and communities at the union, said: “I think it is brilliant that we are able to offer this sort of training to students because it is important that students are able to cycle safely and confidently on the roads of Oxford.
“Many students will have taken a cycling proficiency test at some stage, probably whilst in primary school, and it is important that the lessons learnt all those years ago are not forgotten.”
Students will be invited to sign up for the free, half-day’s training at the university’s Freshers’ Fair between October 9 and 11, and the first training session will be held on the streets of Oxford on November 2.
Twenty-five places will initially be available, but more events will be held if they are over-subscribed.
Mr Tomlinson said he was unaware of anything like this happening before in the city and predicted there would be a lot of interest.
He said: “We work with loads of other organisations active in the city and the local community to encourage students to cycle well in our city.
“Thames Valley Police will be at our Freshers’ Fair talking to students about the importance of cycling with lights among other things.
“We also want to reduce the incidence of bike theft in our city, so are making reduced priced bike locks available to our students.”
Julie Rand, information officer for the CTC, said the training would include the Highway Code, how to ride in the best position to be visible to other road users and what equipment to use. She said: “A lot of people venture out on the roads without any training or knowledge whatsoever.
“Even other cyclists can provide a hazard on the road if you are not aware of what’s around you, and the better trained you are, the more able you are to deal with lots of situations that might come up.”
Simon Hunt, of Oxford cycling campaign group Cyclox, welcomed the scheme.
He said: “Some students cycle in a relatively reckless and sometimes mindless manner and anything that helps make them more aware is good.”
However, he said he worried it would be “saints rather than sinners” who were likely to sign up to the scheme.
In the Get Britain Cycling debate on September 2, Miss Blackwood asked: “Would another point of transition for introducing cycling proficiency be when young people go to university, when they often get back on bikes having not been on them since they were young children?”
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