Essex: Parents could be offered �250 per child for bikes and safety training
PARENTS could be offered up to �250 per child to pay for bikes and road safety training for their children to travel to school.
Instead of offering yearly bus passes, Essex County Council is considering making a one-off payment to parents or carers to buy a bike, helmet, high-visibility jacket and road safety training for pupils to a value of �50 per term.
The idea has been put forward to promote healthy lifestyles among schoolchildren, provide flexibility in home-to-school transport and take advantage of the Olympic mountain biking event being held in Essex.
It would run as an alternative to secondary school children who are entitled to free transport but want to cycle to school.
James Abbott, Green Party Braintree district councillor for Bradwell, Silver End and Rivenhall, said: “I would applaud the fact they are thinking of these types of initiatives but really they would be better spending this money on dedicated cycle ways – away from the roads – rather than this.
“Essex has a lot of road safety issues and my fear would be that getting more children on bikes, on these roads would lead to accidents.
“The idea is there but sadly the infrastructure is not.”
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The allowance would be at the discretion of the council’s head of strategic transport and awards and would only be payable where the cost of transport exceeds the amount of the cycle allowance.
Two proposals are currently being discussed – one for a Cycle Allowance and the other for a Cycle Purchase Scheme – and the council is hoping to offer both as it would allow for a child who does not need a new bike to be paid an allowance to use the bike they already own as well as for Essex County Council to buy a bike for those who do not currently own one.