Pupils at Darlington School of Mathematics and Science get in the saddle

RIDERS IN TRAINING: DSMS students, L-R, Ryan Balsillie, Lucy Edmond, Ben Mitchell, all 11, and Joe Watts, 12, with Darlington Borough Council’s Bikeability instructors Jon Bruce, Barry Patterson, Martin Deacy and Darcy Kitchin

RIDERS IN TRAINING: DSMS students, L-R, Ryan Balsillie, Lucy Edmond, Ben Mitchell, all 11, and Joe Watts, 12, with Darlington Borough Council’s Bikeability instructors Jon Bruce, Barry Patterson, Martin Deacy and Darcy Kitchin

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Darlington)

STUDENTS found themselves in the saddle for some special training designed to promote cycling and keep them safe on the road.

Pupils at Darlington School of Mathematics and Science (DSMS) received one-to-one instruction thanks to Darlington Borough Council and its Bikeability scheme.

Children across the borough receive initial training when they are at primary school in the safety of the playground.

Then at secondary school they move on to the public roads to hone their safety crafts on their bikes.

As part of the scheme, six students from DSMS donned safety gear and headed out under the watchful eye of instructors from the council’s road safety team.

Instructor Barry Patterson said: “If they experience riding safely in traffic it boosts their confidence and also their road craft which will help them become better drivers when they are older.”

Ben Mitchell, 11, said: “I love riding my bike but it was different being in traffic and using lanes at traffic lights and roundabouts correctly.”

Head teacher Calvin Kipling added: “Cycling is a fantastic and enjoyable way for young people to stay fit and active but it is crucial they learn how to ride safely.

“The more students who ride to school the less congestion the town is likely to experience and it is also a great way to wake up in the morning and wind down at the end of the day.”

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