Making cycle training compulsory for all school children would help to solve Britain’s ‘obesity ticking timebomb’ said British Cycling’s Chris Boardman.
Figures from the Health Survey for England have shown that obesity among young people is at its highest ever level. One in three children under 15 is overweight or obese. Chris Boardman said only half of schools now offer Bikeability cycle training for children.
Boardman was speaking at the Modeshift conference in Birmingham. Modeshift is an organisation aiming to increase levels of active travel, getting kids out of cars.
British Cycling has formed a partnership with Modeshift, the aim of which is to increase action at a local level, supporting communities to make positive changes to adopting active travel choices, and helping to ensure that local action steers the national active travel debate.
Boardman is British Cycling’s policy advisor. He said:
“For the first time there is now a danger that the next generation’s lifespan will be shorter than ours. Obesity in children is a ticking timebomb across Britain and until we start prioritising cycling as a form of transport and building exercise into young people’s daily lives this problem will only get worse.
“Cycling is a vital life skill that all children should have and is something that children carry with them throughout their adult lives. Bikeability training shouldn’t just be the preserve of children whose schools or local authorities happen to promote cycling – it should be for everyone.
“We’ve taught thousands of young people how to ride bikes but there are still millions of children who are missing out on cycling. Our partnership with Modeshift to encourage positive action at local level will strive to turn this situation around. Positive action at a local level, however small, can have a powerful ripple effect if those actions are replicated widely.”
Ross Butcher, Chair of Modeshift, said:
“As a professional body, supporting sustainable travel, Modeshift are delighted that British Cycling has become our latest partner. They will perfectly complement our existing services and provide our members with a wider range of information to promote and encourage cycling in their regions.”