It’s never too early to get kids cycling in parks and on cycle paths, away from dangerous traffic.
For children aged eight and upwards, you may want to investigate on-road cycle training, depending on the hazards on roads in your community. Roads in some communities are, in many people’s view, just too dangerous to encourage children to cycle on them, and are not designed with child cyclists in mind.
In England the Bikeability training programme instructs students on how to ride their bikes to the government-approved National Standard for Cycle Training. Bikeability is delivered by accredited instructors, usually employed by local authorities. It involves three levels of training and assessment:
Level 1 takes place off-road (e.g. on a playground) and involves a 1-2 hour session with three to 12 students per instructor. It is suitable for students aged eight and upwards.
Level 2 takes place on quiet roads and aims to enable students to cycle safely to school or local amenities using quiet local roads. It consists of five sessions, with at least two instructors for a group of no more than 12 students. Level two can only be undertaken by students who have completed level one and is not recommended for students under the age of 10.
Level 3 takes places on busier roads, with a maximum group size of three, and aims to equip students with the skills to be able to cycle on busy roads using complex junctions. It can only be undertaken by students who have completed level 2 and is not recommended for children under the age of 14.
For more information go to bikeability.org.uk. To find out if Bikeability is offered in your area, contact your local road safety officer.
Bikeability is an England-wide scheme, but schools in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can contact their local road safety officer to find out if similar National Standard cycle training is offered locally.