Funding to encourage children to cycle to school has been doubled to £15 million a year, in an effort to reduce traffic congestion.
Transport secretary Douglas Alexander said the cash could put 100,000 children through improved cycling proficiency tests and help to connect schools to cycling routes that are either free of traffic or uncongested.
Alexander said: 'At 8:50 in the morning, one in five cars is on the school run.
'Encouraging cycling can have big impacts - improving the health of children, tackling congestion and helping the environment.'
Alexander said 70% of the cycling links to schools built up to the end of 2005 were off-road and free of traffic.
Schools minister Andrew Adonis said: 'Safer cycling routes will help encourage more children to travel by sustainable means and give parents the confidence to let their children travel to school independently.'
The Association of British Drivers (ABD) welcomed the move, although cyclist and policy director of the ABD Mark McArthur-Christie sounded a note of caution: 'The idea of safe routes to schools is fundamentally sound, but all too often councils fail to implement useful measures.'
McArthur-Christie said councils should put aside their obsession with red tarmac and pointless signage, and concentrate on simple measures, such as providing decent surfaces to the edge of roads and cutting back hedges to give motorists a better view of cyclists.
What Car? wants to hear from you on the new funding and the school run. Would you be happy to send your children to school on a bike? Are you sick of school-run mums being blamed for congestion? Click here to let us know what you think.
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