The Bikeability Trust
Annual Review 2021
Celebrating 15 years
2021 in numbers
Chair of Trustees
This year is a special year for Bikeability, as we celebrate 15 years since its creation. Over that time, the programme has helped to train 4 million children. Those children did more than learn to cycle, they learned a skill for life. As we look forward to the next 15 years, we know cycling will become an even more integral part of our lives helping to address climate, environmental and health concerns. Bikeability will be at the forefront of training confident cyclists for the future.
2021 was another challenging year for the Bikeability programme. Further lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions have seen all involved in Bikeability having to adapt to ensure as many children as possible had access to cycle training. It is heart-warming to see, throughout this report, what has been achieved over the last year in the industry, with the support of the Bikeability Trust.
The last year has seen increased investment from Department for Transport. We thank them for their ongoing support. The Trust would also like to thank Chris Heaton-Harris MP for his active travel leadership over the last year, including championing industry heroes in our Celebration of Bikeability event. We now welcome Trudy Harrison MP as Minister of State at the Department for Transport with responsibility for active travel and look forward to working with her.
Over the past year, the team at the Trust has grown to respond to the growth in the programme. We have an energetic and ambitious executive team, supported by a wider team of committed and talented individuals. They all work tirelessly to bring more training to more children and work with the whole industry to increase accessibility and coverage of training. My fellow trustees and I are hugely grateful to the team for their hard work in leading the Bikeability programme and ensuring it is ready to meet the challenge of getting everyone cycling. The Trust’s vision of ensuring that everyone has the confidence to cycle and enjoy this skill for life will guide all we do over the next 15 years.
Trudy Harrison MP
Minister of State at the Department for Transport
This year I was delighted to take over the active travel brief. I want to thank local authorities, schools and all the Bikeability industry who diligently delivered cycle training through another really challenging year.
Their emphasis on quality training and maintaining National Standards has given many more children and their parents and carers the confidence to enjoy cycling and the sense of accomplishment it can bring.
I was very pleased to be able to announce another increase in funding as we aim for every child, and adult, to have the opportunity to take part in cycle training. Increasing coverage of cycle training, adapting to reach all areas of the country and being inclusive of all abilities will help achieve more cycle journeys – an important part of our active travel ambitions. This funding is allowing local councils to better support children with additional needs to access cycle training, whether they are in mainstream school or specialist provision. The Department for Transport and the Bikeability Trust are also looking at how to widen participation in Bikeability cycle training by other groups who might be less likely to take up the offer – and help to make our aim of every child having that opportunity a reality.
Team Bikeability has once again shown the commitment, support and resilience to deliver quality training to children and families. I am always inspired and humbled to spend time talking with teams across England whose passion to get the nation cycling shines through.
We have made significant progress in the last twelve months, whilst continuing to deliver and adapt to COVID-19. I’m really proud that we have shown our commitment to Bikeability for all, with inclusion at the heart of our work. We launched new funding for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities through the Bikeability Trust Innovation Fund. With the Department for Transport (DfT), the Widening Participation Fund is helping to improve access for all ethnicities, teenage girls and areas where access to cycles is beyond families’ budgets.
The record investment in Bikeability in 2021, with the promise of the transformative Active Travel England establishment, is exciting. We stand ready to scale up and provide more opportunities to deliver training to every child and adult.
But we cannot do this alone, the DfT support for Bikeability is the foundation for every child, and with strong Ministerial support and a team of officials who work tirelessly, the scale-up is starting to show with record figures. Alongside our partners, Frog Bikes, the Bike Club, Beryl Bikes and Flare we have been able to offer more opportunities for children and families to enjoy the benefits of cycling.
Finally, I want to thank our talented Bikeability Trust team and all our Trustees who bring knowledge, guidance and support.
Looking to next year, we have ambitious plans to reach more children and support the industry to deliver quality training through innovation and inclusivity. We want to show the impact of Bikeability and protect this special programme’s place in childhood development and family joy.
15 years of Bikeability
I’ve been involved with Bikeability from the start and I have the pleasure of being the Bikeability Trust Honory Patron. This year Bikeability celebrates 15 years and during this time 4 million children have been trained – a huge achievement.
Bikeability was launched in 2007 when the first Government sponsored children’s cycle training was established by Cycling England. Cycling organisations, road safety groups and local authorities joined together to design new National Standards for cycle training as the benchmark for all professional training across England. These standards are the bedrock of Bikeability.
Right from the start, our aim was to give every child the opportunity to learn to cycle safely and to discover the fun of cycling. The idea was to give children a skill for life and the route to transport independence.
In 2020, the Government published its major strategic cycling commitment for the next 5 years; Bikeability is promised sufficient funding to make our original dream of giving every child the opportunity to learn to ride a reality by 2025.
Bikeability has a great past, but what of the future? The role of cycling in our everyday travel will get bigger and even more essential as we work towards the Government decarbonisation target of net-zero emissions by 2030. Cycling for short trips will be a crucial part of the solution. If we are to achieve this, we need many more children doing Bikeability now. In 10 years’ time, those children will enjoy the value and pleasure of cycling. Bikeability has never been more important for us all.