The government says the £140m government investment in cycling announced last week will help half a million children cycle safely and a generation of adults rediscover their bikes.
This drive to boost cycling is designed to help tackle road congestion, improve air quality and create opportunities for exercise. The money will be invested over the next three years and forms part of the government's forthcoming strategy to tackle obesity.
The six-fold increase in funding will allow an extra 500,000 10 year-olds across England to take part in Bikeability cycle training by 2012, and will be used to build another 250 Safe Links to Schools - connecting around 500 more schools to the National Cycle Network.
It will also be used to create up to a further 10 cycling demonstration towns and the first large demonstration city.
Ruth Kelly, secretary of state for transport, said: "The results of Bikeability and cycle demonstration towns are hugely impressive and prove that by providing the right facilities and support more people are willing to get on their bikes.
“For example, Darlington has quadrupled the proportion of children cycling to school, and Aylesbury has also seen a five-fold increase in residents using a bike as one of their two main means of transport.”
The funding package will go to Cycling England, the body set up by government to promote cycling.
Phillip Darnton, chairman of Cycling England said: “Cycling England has produced compelling evidence to show that increased and sustained levels of investment in cycling can make a substantial impact.
“We believe this announcement 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.”
Click here to download a briefing note prepared for RSOs.