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Parental Fear Prevents Children Cycling on Roads in England
Detail: According to a survey conducted by Cycling England, parents are stopping their children cycling to school or using their bikes on roads because of growing concerns about safety.

Phillip Darnton, chairman of Cycling England, said: "Somewhere along the line our fears for our children's safety have overtaken the reality of on-road accidents, which are in long-term decline. Every parent will want to ensure their children are kept safe, but they can't live out their lives within the shadows of the cul-de-sac, never able to venture further away from home."

According to the survey, most parents began cycling on the roads when they were 10 but do not allow their children to do the same until they are 12. One in three were allowed to cycle to school but only one in five ever allows their children to do the same. More than half of parents used their bike as regular transport when they were school age but 81% ban their children from enjoying the same freedoms.

Most parents said their children did not have the confidence and skills to ride on the road, but just over half said cycle training would make them feel more reassured. Parents cited safety concerns as the most common reason for stopping their children from cycling, yet only 3% knew someone who had had an accident.

Though according to recent transport statistics cyclists killed on the roads fell slightly in 2006 to 146, the number of seriously injured rose by 4% to 2,296. However, total casualties among pedal cyclists fell by 2% to 16,196.

Darnton said: "This research underlines the important role of cycling training in giving children the skills and confidence they need to cycle on the roads, and in giving parents the reassurance that their child is well equipped to do so."

Today, more than a quarter of children are only allowed to cycle with adult supervision, although three-quarters are allowed to cycle for recreation at the weekend or after school. Only one in five are allowed to use their bike to get from A to B during the week.

A separate survey for sustainable transport charity Sustrans, which oversees the 12,000-mile National Cycle Network, found nearly half of all pupils wanted to cycle to school, yet according to the National Travel Survey only 2% of UK schoolchildren actually do.

For the full story see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/may/06/transport.children
Source: “Parents afraid to allow their children to cycle on roads” by Matthew Taylor , The Guardian, Tuesday May 6 2008
Date: May 10 2008