Training children to cycle safely

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Location of intervention Locations across England
Contractor/delivery partner Local authorities and School Games Organiser Host Schools/The Bikeability Trust
Scheme implementation dates 2007 – Present
Cost of scheme £12 million – £13 million per year
Funding source Department for Transport
BCR 3:1 (lower estimate) 7:1 (upper estimate)

Why we did it

The Road Safety Statement, published in December 2015, emphasised that the government remains firmly committed to provide cycle training to school children, to give the next generation of cyclists the skills and confidence to cycle safely on local roads. In recognition of the importance of this, in the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) the department committed to provide an additional £50 million to fund the Bikeability programme through to 2020.

How we did it

Bikeability was launched in 2007 as the government’s flagship cycle training programme for all ages. The training aims to increase children’s road awareness, encourage active travel and improve future motorists’ empathy for more vulnerable road users.

What we did

The programme trains approximately 400,000 children per year across the 3 different levels of training offered. Bikeability provides three levels of training, providing a progressive pathway for trainees to develop their skills and confidence:

  • level 1: Learn to control and master your bike (off-road)
  • level 2: Real-life experience of cycling on local streets
  • level 3: Cycling on busier roads and traffic situations

To date, more than 3 million children have received Bikeability training.

What impact did it have

The achievement of Bikeability Level 2 or 3 certification was found to be associated with:

  • an increased propensity among Year 6 pupils to cycle
  • higher levels of road cycling and improved knowledge of how to ride on roads safely

Bikeability also increases the propensity for parents to allow their children to ride on roads, which implies that Bikeability positively impacts on parents’ confidence in their children’s cycling skills and road safety. This is corroborated by parents’ positive reports of Bikeability, with substantial proportions reporting that their children are more confident in their cycling abilities and cycle more often.

Key facts

  • 400,000 trained across the 3 different levels of training
  • 3 million children have received Bikeability training
  • £50 million to fund the Bikeability programme to 2020

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