Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard visited Holy Cross Boys Primary School in North Belfast today to see pupils brushing up on their cycling skills ahead of Bike Week.
The Year 7 boys welcomed the Minister to join them for a cycling proficiency lesson, delivered by the Department for Infrastructure’s Cycling Proficiency Scheme (CPS).
Speaking during his visit to the school, Minister Hazzard said:
“Cycling has grown in popularity over the years and many more children are walking or cycling to school. This kind of active travel is a great way to keep fit, but it is also important that we teach children how to stay safe.
“The Cycling Proficiency Scheme has been running for more than 40 years and trained generations of children to cycle safely. This year alone, more than 7,000 children in 400 of our schools will take part in the training. The scheme provides a huge opportunity for all primary school children to become safe cyclists and I would encourage schools to get involved."
The Minister continued:
“Given the current weather, it is wonderful to see more and more people choosing cycling to get to school and work. Encouraging our children to lead healthy lives is something we should all consider and the cycling proficiency scheme helps ensure that our young people can enjoy the benefits of cycling safely, while developing positive road safety behaviours that will last a lifetime. Clearly the boys at Holy Cross have been paying attention.”
The aim of CPS is to teach children how to ride their bicycles safely and is a combination of continual assessment, theory and / or practical exam. The scheme also teaches children to carry out manoeuvres in a controlled environment and teaches them some basic rules of the Highway Code.
Welcoming Minister Hazzard on his visit to the school Principal of Holy Cross Boys Primary School Kevin McArevey said: “Holy Cross Boys’ has encouraged our boys to take up The Cycling Proficiency Scheme (CPS) because it is our firm belief that early road safety education is central to keeping our children safe on the roads. The boys get to develop their biking skills in a safe and secure environment thus building their confidence as cyclists as well as enabling them to identify dangers they may come across on the roads.
“Allied to the road safety aspect of the CPS are the many health benefits of cycling as it is one of the best all round activities for improving our health. Not only is cycling good for your heart, muscles, lifespan and waistline but it is also great to improving your mental health.
“Despite the sterling work of the Department, the media, Sustrans and schools, we still face a Sisyphean task to help children and motorists realise the real dangers that our roads pose. As a school we want our message to ring out loud and clear for all to hear: in residential areas, drivers of motor vehicles should always be thinking of the three Ps – patience, perseverance and pupils.”
Bike Week begins on 13 June.
Notes to editors:
Media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure press office on 028 9054 0007. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.
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