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Watch out for cycling snake

Date: 04/12/2008           Category: Highways Traffic and Parking

What type of snake is bright yellow and can be around 50 metres long? A cycling snake. Children in Medway, aged 10 and 11, are now being taught Bikeability cycling skills following the National Standard for Cycling. As part of this, they are required to travel further from their schools to provide them with experience of cycling in different situations. Medway Council’s Road Safety Team is asking other road users to be patient and give space to the cycling snake’s young trainees. Drivers are also requested to watch the signals given by the instructors and manoeuvre accordingly. Since this strategy has been in place, there have been several instances where children have been put at risk by the actions of other road users, including harassing the rear pupil by driving too close, pulling into the middle of the snake in narrow roads when overtaking it and meeting oncoming vehicles. The snake is a strategy used by Bikeability cycling instructors across the country for moving groups of up to 12 children from place to place. This may be for distances of up to 400 metres from their school. There is always one instructor at the front and a second that observes the group from the back, occasionally moving up the group to ensure the group’s safety at junctions. All instructors and children wear hi-visibility clothing and are strongly encouraged to wear helmets. Bikeability is a council’s initiative to encourage young people to cycle to school and people in general to cycle more often. Bryan Shawyer, Road Safety Manager, explained: “Training young cyclists to use the roads properly benefits others on the road. They learn that all road users have a responsibility to behave safely which in turn makes Medway’s roads safer for everyone.” Visit the Bikeability website at www.bikeability.org.uk http://www.bikeability.org.uk Editor’s notes: Bikeability is similar to the Cycling Proficiency Test – designed to give children and young people skills and confidence to ride their bikes on today's roads. There are three Bikeability levels and children will be encouraged and inspired to achieve all three levels, recognising that there is always more to learn and to enjoy on a bike. Picture caption: The cycling snake out and about on Medway's roads.