A CASH boost for bike training in schools could see an entire generation of safe cyclists sailing around Oxordshire’s roads.

Almost every primary school child in the county will now be able to get free cycle safety training, thanks to a £84,500 grant given to Oxfordshire County Council.

The money will fund an additional 2,000 places on Bikeability courses provided by the council, which equip youngsters for the hazards of road cycling.

Bikeability, a scheme overseen by the Department for Transport, offers the grants as part of a £50m pot set aside to promote Bikeability cycle training in schools.

The county council’s cycling champion, councillor Suzanne Bartington, said: “High-quality training makes children much more confident on the road and sets them on the course to become cyclists for the rest of their lives, with all the health benefits that brings.

“The council’s successful funding bid means we will now be able to provide expert training to almost all school children at their schools.”

She said this equated to about 5,000 pupils each year for the next two years.

The course is made up of six 90-minute sessions, usually spread over a week, and it is completely free.

Most cycling training is carried out by a 700-strong team of volunteer instructors under Oxfordshire Cycle Training Scheme.

This has been running for more than 40 years and offers training to children aged nine-years-old and older.

It combines learning about the Highway Code and practical ‘on the road’ tuition.

The scheme is managed by Andy Ford, Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s road safety manager.

He said: “This new money means we can help support our marvellous volunteers to expand the number of sessions but also bring in local, approved, paid providers where and when necessary.

“This way we get the best of both worlds, continuing to support and extend a long-standing community-based service, but with added flexibility.”

Lynn Knapp, head at Windmill Primary School in Headington, said the school values its cycle safety lessons.

She said: “It’s all part of getting children fit and healthy.

“We encourage families to cycle to school as much as possible - we are an eco-school and are trying to reduce pollution.”

Parents and carers who want their child to take part can contact their school.