Bikeability-trained kids cycle more, finds study

07/10/2013 Cycling to School

School children who have undertaken Bikeability cycle training use their bicycles more frequently than untrained children of the same age. That’s the conclusion of a new study, commissioned by Cambridgeshire County Council. Based on a survey of 224 children in four Cambridge primary schools, the study shows the difference cycle training can make.

Bikeability training leads to an uplift of 12.6 percent in the amount of children who cycle to school. Training also leads to an 11 percent increase in the amount of cycling children do with their families away from school.

Almost one million children have been Bikeability trained since the national scheme was launched in 2006.

The new study was produced by Outspoken Cycle Training, which delivers Bikeability for Cambridgeshire County Council. This year Outspoken has trained 3874 children in years 5 and 6 in 163 of the county’s schools. Bikeability-trained children are less likely to ride on pavements, finds the study and more likely to be confident cycling on the road.

Michael Frearson, head of quality assurance at Outspoken, said: “It is remarkable that even in Cambridge, where cycling levels are already very high, that Bikeability-trained children are more likely to cycle frequently and confidently on the road than untrained children.”

Paul Robison, director of the Bikeability Support Team, responsible for the national roll out of cycle training, said “Most children want to ride their bikes but often their parents are understandably reluctant to let them, even though they know that cycling is good for health. Bikeability is designed to give children the skills and confidence to ride well and to give their parents reassurance.”

In England, Bikeability is funded by the Department for Transport and Transport for London and is offered free to about 50 percent of primary school children, mostly in urban and suburban settings. Most training occurs during school time in years 5 and 6.