Cycling is a fun and healthy way for children to get about and
it also gives them a degree of freedom and
independence. However there are
issues which must be addressed if children are to be safe
on the road.
In 2013, 1,958 child cyclists were killed or injured in
Great Britain - and although this is lower than the
2005-09 average, one cyclist death or injury is one too many
Bikeability is a National Standard for Cycle Training, which has
been designed by the leading experts in the field of road safety as
well as cycling.
The principal outcome of Bikeability is 'more people cycling more
often and more safely'.
Bikeability students are encouraged to learn interactively as
opposed to simply telling them what to do.
The Department of Transport and Cycle England commissioned a
report published in December 2010 on the perceptions and
experiences of children and their parents of Bikeability Training.
The conclusions of the report were that Bikeability was extremely
worthwhile and highly regarded by both children and their parents.
To read the full report is
available here (opens in a new window).
The courses are designed to be both educational and enjoyable
with the emphasis on safety. Learning to cycle safely can make an
enormous contribution to some of today's biggest challenges,
in particular sustainable travel and health. Bikeability is an
activity developed to influence travel choice.
In Bedford, Bikeability is delivered mainly
through schools. The training is delivered for the council's
road safety team by its delivery partner Outspoken cycle training.
Outspoken were selected via a competative tender process in April
2013. The process required that the delivery partner met the
highest standards in training and child safety as well as
delivering value for money.
Please contact your child's school in the first
instance to check if they are running courses and if not, ask them
why not and strongly suggest to consider doing
Bikeability is designed to give cyclists the skills and confidence
to ride their bikes on today's roads. There are three
Level one offers basic bike
handling skills in a controlled environment away from the
All lower/primary schools are offered Level 1 training by
Outspoken cycle training and there is a nominal charge for this
training. Other providors do offer level one training but they are
not endorsed by the borough councils road safety team
Level two is taught on-road and
teaches children to cycle planned routes on local familiar roads
offering real cycling experience.
All schools with year 5 and 6 cohorts are offered combined level
1 and 2 training during normal school times free of charge.
Note: A child has to be 10 years old or
have their tenth birthday during the current academic year to
attend combined level 1 and 2 training.
Level three will ensure cyclists can
ride safely and competently in all traffic conditions.
Training is available to schools with pupils in years 7,8,9,10
and 11 free of charge. Please contact the borough councils road
safety team on 01234 228142 or email@example.com
to discuss your requirements. Participants must be able to provide
evidence that they have attained Level 2 before taking
For young people who have not been able to access a combined
level 1 and 2 course through their school, training in the summer
school holiday's, is offered by the councils summer sports
scheme. Click here for more
details (opens in a new window)
As well as teaching young riders to be safe cyclists,
Bikeability aims to develop children as responsible road users and
to help them understand how they can help to protect themselves on
the road by cycling safely, wearing a helmet and bright
Participants at all levels will need to provide a roadworthy
bike; training takes place on-road, mixing with traffic under
controlled conditions. Bikes considered
un-roadworthy will not be allowed to be
used on the training. Before the training starts, parents
are given guidance on how to carry out bike safety checks. The
guidance can be downloaded here.
(Opens in a new window)
Particapants will need to wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet is
recommended for all cyclists, but it is especially important for
children. Children often have less control over their movements on
a bike and are more likely to make errors of judgement. If involved
in an incident, a helmet can dramatically reduce the risk
of a head injury. BMX style
helmets are not allowed. They restrict both hearing and visibility
both key senses for staying safe on the road.
Trainees who participate in Level 2 or 3 training
will ride on the road. The purpose of the training is to help them
be safer when cycling on the road. We take the following
measures to maximise safety during the training:
- All instructors are fully
- All instructors are
- All trainees and
instructors wear hi-visibility items of clothing
- All training sites are
risk assessed and the instructors carry out ongoing dynamic risk
through out the training
For more information about Bikeability visit the web site:
in a new window)
The East Region Instructor Training Organisation (ITO)
Bedford Borough Council , working
alongside Cambridgeshire County Council ,Central
Bedfordshire Council, Essex County Council, Hertfordshire County
Council, Luton Borough Council, Peterborough City Council, Southend
Borough Council and Suffolk County Council have formed the East
Region ITO in order to further support cyclist training both within
Bedford Borough and across the eastern region. The East
Region ITO is recognised by the Department for Transport as having
met a standard and forms one of 18 Instructor Training
All accredited National Standards cycling
instructors are required to affiliate with at least one ITO, and
membership of the East Region ITO is currently £25 per
The East Region ITO has the mandate to train
National Standards cycling instructors (NSI's) and to train
accredited instructors who themselves wish to train
instructors. It will provide a range of courses for the continual
professional development of NSI's and will be organising a ½ day
conference annually for its membership.
More details are available on a
dedicated Eastern Region ITO web site. (opens
in a new window)
Bedford Borough Council Road Safety Team