The money will be invested over the next three years. And this time it is not so much to satisfy the Green agenda but is part of a new initiative to tackle the growing problem of obesity.
However, the implications for the city’s efforts to build sustainable transport options are very promising. Much of the focus will be on schools and school children but good habits learnt at this age will bode well for the city in 10 or 20 years time.
The funding will: allow an extra 500,000 10 year-olds to take part in Bikeability cycle training by 2012; build another 250 Safe Links to Schools, connecting around 500 more schools to the National Cycle Network and create up to a further 10 Cycling Demonstration Towns in England, as well as the first large Demonstration City.
This will mean nearly 3 million people will have the chance to benefit from best practice and promotion of cycling.
Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Transport visited Brighton (as one of the first Demonstration Towns) to launch the new initiative. She said, ‘Cycling brings many benefits, both for the individual in terms of health and fitness and for the local community as it helps tackle congestion and improve local air quality.
“Being able to cycle safely is an important life skill and I want to give more children the opportunity to do it and encourage more adults to reach for their bikes.
‘By 2012, I expect 500,000 more children to have been able to learn the necessary skills so that they cycle safely and responsibly. This will give parents reassurance that their children are suitably equipped to use the roads and enjoy their bikes.’
Phillip Darnton, Chairman of Cycling England said: ‘We are delighted that the Government has acted and believe it will make a real difference to the way we travel - to school, work and the station. The expansion of Bikeability training will give the next generation the skills and confidence to ride on today's roads.
‘The bicycle really does have a role in helping meet England's transport challenges. It is now taking its place as a proper mode of transport.’
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