Cycling England is funding CTC-managed bursaries to help pay for instructors’ training and official accreditation in the National Standard for Cycle Training. Building on the old RoSPA cycling proficiency test, which was phased out as a national scheme 10+ years ago, the new national standard has the backing of the government, the Road Safety Officers’ Association (LARSOA) and 20+ cycling groups and local councils which have contributed to its development.

£1m for updated ‘Cycling Proficiency Test’

The bursaries – worth £950 000 – are available to applicants both from local authorities’ professional staff and commercial training providers.

The grant has been awarded to the CTC Charitable Trust. The CTC developed the original Cycling Proficiency test in the 1930s and has been working on the new National Standard for a number of years.

The CTC Charitable Trust will use the money to help create over 1200 new CTC-approved national standard cycling instructors and new cycling instructor centres. Help will also be available for existing training centres. The work will be carried out alongside the National Cycle Training Helpline, which the Trust already operates in partnership with Cycling England.

CTC Director Kevin Mayne said: “This is an exciting start for the new Charitable Trust, which has been founded to promote the benefits of cycling to society as a whole. This grant from Cycling England is an endorsement of the new training standards and the work CTC has done in this area – it will go a long way towards achieving our shared goal of helping people make cycling part of their lives.”

The National Standard has three levels: Level 1 for basic bike handling skills; Level 2 for safe cycling on minor roads with less heavy traffic, especially for school trips; and Level 3 for all cycling trips. Designed for both children and adults, it is the first time that a national standard has been set which requires on-road training.

The national standard is not compulsory, but local authorities will be encouraged to bring their local schemes in line with this best practice.

The standard will be regularly monitored by the Cycle Training Reference Group (CTRG), a voluntary body representing all the major cycle training experts and practitioners; it reports to transport ministers through Cycling England.

Phillip Darnton, chairman of Cycling England and president of the Bicycle Association, said: “It’s good news for parents, teachers, children – and indeed adult cyclists – that we have now got a national standard for all cycle training. Over the past 20 years, many local authorities and other training providers have done a good job, but standards have been variable. A national standard, and official accreditation, provide the necessary reassurance that the pupils have been properly taught to deal with today’s road conditions."

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety for RoSPA said "This new funding to train cycle instructors is excellent news and will help to ensure that more people, young and old, receive effective training to help them cycle safely and confidently."

Steve Whitehouse, cycling advisor to LARSOA and representative on the CTRG said: “We welcome this initiative to equip young people with the skills to ride safely in modern traffic conditions.”

Cycling England is a national body to plan and co-ordinate the development of cycling across the country. It was launched in March 2005 and replaces the previous National Cycling Strategy Board. Cycling England is supported by a range of government departments, including those covering health, education, planning and sport, as well as transport.

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