07 July 2022

The 'cycling lady' making real inroads towards cycling safety in Aberdeenshire schools

This August, June Andrew will celebrate 30 years of raising road safety awareness across the North-east of Scotland.

For the past eight years, June has dedicated herself to keeping our children safe when cycling on the roads in her role as Aberdeenshire Council’s Transport Safety Education Officer.

Now, the former Road Safety Officer with Grampian Police has recently been singled out for praise by Cycling Scotland for her significant efforts in promoting the Bikeability Scotland scheme which is designed to give children the skills and confidence they need to cycle safely and to encourage them to carry on cycling into adulthood.

Marianne Scott, Regional Cycle Training & Development Officer, said: “On behalf of Cycling Scotland, I would like to acknowledge the significant effort you have made to ensure children across Aberdeenshire continue to benefit from Bikeability Scotland. 

“In the last year you have delivered 35 courses to new instructors and by sharing your experience and enthusiasm, staff and volunteers across the authority are well supported to help children learn to cycle safely.  

“Following on from your award in 2020, recognising your role in supporting over 25,000 children through the programme, we are grateful for your ongoing commitment to delivering cycle training as part of road safety education, particularly against the backdrop of a pandemic. We also recognise the improvements that have been made to national resources as an impact of your contributions.”

While appreciative of the praise, for the modest June it is all in a day’s work – and what a tremendous amount of work she crams into each and every day.

Whether it’s supporting the Junior Road Safety Officer Scheme, attending road safety events and school assemblies or checking the fit of and dispensing child car seat advice at local supermarkets, there’s never a dull moment for June.

However it’s the Bikeability Scotland scheme which plays a particularly important part in her work within schools the length and breadth of Aberdeenshire.

June explains: “Learning to cycle safely is an essential life skill for children and with the Scottish Government guidance encouraging walking and cycling to school, Bikeability Scotland supports that outdoor learning process.

“Bikeability Scotland supports the next generation of confident and responsible road users and there’s a very high uptake for the courses with around 85% of schools in Aberdeenshire engaged in this vital training.”

She adds: “I absolutely love doing the Bikeability Scotland sessions and I always get a very warm welcome at the schools to the cries of “it’s the cycling lady!”. It’s very rewarding seeing the children complete the course, particularly seeing those who may never have ridden a bike before achieving success.”

By completing the course, a Bikeability Scotland Instructor (BSI) can plan and deliver Levels 1 and 2 training to children in a school setting. 

And that’s another important part of June’s work – mentoring the next generation of volunteer instructors - in many cases teachers, school staff and parents who go on to deliver to their own pupils.

Since August last year, June has mentored 160 volunteers and quality assured them to take up the training of pupils – with some of those being familiar faces.

June says: “It’s great to see the adults going through their training so they can start teaching children and there have even been occasions when my new instructors say – ‘I remember when you taught me when I was at school!’.

“I cannot praise all our instructors enough for taking the time to teach future generations about cycling and road safety – they are a brilliant team and are really committed to the scheme.”

Commenting on June’s fantastic legacy, Andrew Wilkinson, Principal Engineer within Environment and Sustainability, said: “When you consider the significant numbers of pupils who have been trained to a very high level on cycling and road safety it really is testament to the dedication of June and her array of Bikeability Scotland instructors.

“As a council, we are incredibly proud of June’s achievements and we know that for many years to come, children will not only enjoy her courses, but more importantly become far safer on our roads thanks to her efforts.”