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Road safety cycle scheme for Syrian refugees in the East Riding launches for 2019

Date
Thu, 11 Apr 2019
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An award-winning cycle training scheme for refugees in the East Riding has got back on the road for 2019.

Thirty refugees from Syria who have settled in the East Riding to escape the civil war in their country are being given training in cycling skills and road safety to help them navigate the roads in their new country.

And they were all presented with reconditioned bikes and safety gear including helmets and hi-vis vests at the end of their first training day, on Wednesday 10 April.

The scheme is led by East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s road safety team and the Refugee Council, working in partnership with Cottingham charity R-evolution and Safer Roads Humber.

The aim of the project is to provide the refugees with transport and the knowledge to get around the East Riding safely so they can travel to education and employment, and also to help them integrate into the local community.

The refugee cycle project was first launched in spring 2018, when 40 refugees were put through the first course.

This week the second induction of refugees attended a day-long event at R-evolution’s base in Cottingham, where they were given training and information including:

  • Road safety advice for cyclists,
  • Basic vehicle maintenance checks,
  • Information for car users, such as applying for a driving licence, insurance and road tax.

David Butt, assistant road safety officer at East Riding of Yorkshire Council and project leader for the scheme, said: “It was a brilliant day. Some of the refugees don’t have their own transport, so it was a real pleasure to give them the training and then present them with the reconditioned bikes so they can get around the East Riding.

“They really appreciated it. The children’s faces lit up when they got their bikes, it really made their day.”

Tomasz Glinski, partnership manager and social integration coordinator at the Refugee Council, said: “For refugees who have only recently arrived in the UK and are just beginning to rebuild their lives here, it is so important there are opportunities for them to become a part of their community.

“Through our bicycle project we have seen people go from strength to strength, gaining confidence in having learnt new skills and meeting new people.

“Many of the refugees we work with have never ridden bikes before and may not have access to good transport, so being able to ride a bike can be vital, as well as a great way of exploring their new communities.”

The cycle course will run until 18 June, when the refugees will take part in a challenge ride around the Beverley area as part of Cycle4life week with the council’s road safety team.