We like to ride our bicycles...

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ST Helens has been voted the third most cycle friendly town in the country.

In a survey conducted by Virgin Money, St Helens was pipped at the post by Plymouth and Norwich.

Somewhat surprisingly, Cambridge - noted as a cycling city - came only 60th in the list, hampered by the high number of cycle thefts and serious injuries.

Coun Richard McCauley, St Helens Council’s cabinet member for environmental protection and safer communities, said: “This is great news. We have a relatively small number of cycle-related accidents and a low level of cycle theft.

“We also have more cycle routes than ever before to encourage people to use this healthy and eco-friendly way to travel.”

Graeme Tones, of Virgin Money, said: “Cycling continues to increase in popularity and is a major contributor to improving general health and easing traffic congestion. Government and local councils are doing their best to help more of us to get on our bikes through tax incentives, cycle parks and cycle paths.

“Every town and city in the top 60 can be pleased. Reducing the level of accidents and serious injuries requires responsibility from cyclists, care from drivers and the desire from towns and cities to make it easy and safe for people to get on their bikes.”

All primary schools in St Helens have taken up the Bikeability training courtesy of funding via the Department for Transport.

Three rides a week take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in various locations to encourage cycling for health, funded through the Big Lottery.

These are continuing until March 2013 and are available for all people in St Helens over the age of nine years.

They start with short rides and can be built up to more strenuous as required.

To find out more call St Helens Council’s Traffic and Road Safety Team on 01744 671656.

or e-mail: samanthaabernethy@sthelens.gov.uk