New Zealand has long been heralded as a progressive nation boasting many political and social advances, but somehow, we dropped the ball when it came to teaching our children bicycle safety. To emphasis this point we bring your attention to the Cycling Proficiency Test introduced by the UK and Northern Ireland. The first Cycling Proficiency Test was held for seven children on the 7th October 1947 in the United Kingdom. A nation recovering from a World War, that ended just two years previously, saw teaching their children how to be safe on a bike as a priority. The National Cycling Proficiency Scheme was introduced by the Government in 1958, with statutory responsibility for road safety being given to local authorities in 1974, including the provision of child cyclist training which was largely conducted in schools. The Cycling Proficiency Scheme (CPS) has operated in Northern Ireland schools for over 45 years and has trained more than 450,000 pupils. It helps develop cycling skills, increases kids’ confidence as cyclists and helps them to identify risks they may come across on the roads.

Back to New Zealand and all is not lost. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, founded in 2008, is here to teach our children how to be confident and safe cyclists. Their ‘Bike Ready’ program recognises that people are out on their bikes, cycling to school, to work, for fitness, fun and for sport. They recognize that cycling is good for people and good for the planet and they want to help children and adults to become better, more responsible road users who think of bikes as a viable transport option. For more information on the ‘Bike Ready’ program and how you can take it into your child’s school you can visit: https://www.bikeready.govt.nz/more-information/the-bikeready-story/

Please comment below if you have already benefited from ‘Bike Ready’ or indeed the Cycling Proficiency test! We would love to hear your stories about how they helped you to feel more confident on your bike.