by Susan Keenlyside - Lead Professional Travel Planning, Fife Council
In 2013, the Scottish Government launched its refreshed Cycling Action Plan for Scotland (CAPS), restating the vision of having 10% of all trips by bike by 2020.
Fife Council shares this ambition and has been at the forefront of encouraging people to cycle for over 20 years. We have a great and expanding network of cycleways and have continually encouraged people to cycle more.
In 2014, Fife Council’s Transportation and Environment successfully bid for grant funding from Sustrans. Through related walking and cycling initiatives, the Council has been able to match this award which provides a significant investment for cycling routes and training opportunities over the two years of the project and to develop the exemplar project, Cycle Fife.
Overall, the project aims to grow and develop cycling participation and routes in Dunfermline and Glenrothes to make roads, parks and tracks cycle-friendly, along with more secure cycle parking at key locations and to launch initiatives to get people on their bikes. Expanding Bikeability within schools is also part of this ambitious plan.
Bikeability training procedures are well established having been developed through Cycling Scotland. This gave Fife’s teachers the opportunity for quality, structured training, with strong links to the PE curriculum within the Curriculum for Excellence framework.
Teaching Fife’s children good cycling skills is vital to encourage them to cycle safely. It will make a huge difference to the cycling confidence and ability of many children and it is hoped it will encourage them to get out on their bikes more often.
Since starting the pilot in January 2015, we already have 275 Frog Bikes and have 38 schools taking part, which is 78% of the schools within the combined towns of Glenrothes and Dunfermline. This represents over 60 classes and almost 1600 pupils who are now enjoying cycle training in school.
With over 200 Frog Bikes now kept in schools, this provides an ideal opportunity to better integrate cycling within the PE curriculum and further develop Bikeability within schools and the wider community. The remaining bikes are moved between schools (on a rota basis), allowing a greater number of schools to take part.
The children and trainers have been delighted with the quality of the Frog Bikes and are amazed at how lightweight and robust they are. The Bikeability training has given the children new found confidence, they feel safer cycling on the roads and as a result parents feel more confident in letting them do so.
"We had two pupils who'd never been taught to ride a bike and they completed the whole course - It's great to see them now, whizzing around on the bikes!"
Head Teacher in Dunfermline