Pedal Power: Children Gain Confidence on Two Wheels

17th April 2023
Senior Manager of Security, Richard Knight, Assistant Director of Patient Experience, Jeff Thompson and Operational Manager of Patient Experience, Fiona Savage, alongside children and Sustran instructors

Cycling Proficiency sessions were recently hosted by the Travel Team in the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust for children of staff members, to build their confidence and teach them about road and bike safety. The Travel Team are working towards promoting and assisting a new initiative ‘Helping to prepare our next generation for cycling to work’.

Staff from across the South Eastern Trust area were given the opportunity to sign up their children aged 8 years old and above, to take part in the National Standard Cycling Training Levels 1 and 2, hosted by the national cycling charity, Sustrans. The aim of the training was to help prepare the children to be able to ride their bikes confidently on roads for short journeys, such as cycling to and from school or in a traffic free environment.

The training sessions were held over three days at the Ulster Hospital, with Level 1 taking place in a traffic free environment so that the children could be shown how to properly fit and secure their helmets, carry out bike safety and clothing checks. Once these steps were covered, the instructors were then able to teach the children how to properly use the gears, brakes and control their bicycles.

Level 2 took place in a quiet residential area where the children were able to learn about road safety, including how to safely pass a parked car, passing through a junction safely and when to use the appropriate hand signals when turning onto a major or minor road. The Sustran instructors were on hand to help build the children’s confidence when on their bikes, but most importantly they made sure that they had fun while cycling!

Commenting on the success of the sessions, Assistant Director of Patient Experience, Jeff Thompson said, “Nurturing our children to cycle safely and proficiently is an important life skill which enhances our wider population health and may also prevent avoidable accidents. I am really thrilled that the South Eastern Trust has partnered with Sustrans over the Easter holidays to provide this enjoyable and worthwhile course.

“Cycling with proficiency empowers our children and their parents to have confidence to take healthy choices and lead more active lives.  These sessions will be of great benefit enabling children to cycle to school safely, encouraging cycling with parents or carers, or purely for the enjoyment of going out to play with friends.

“I hope this will be the first of many more days we can offer Cycle Proficiency training and would encourage everyone to cycle more often.”