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 safety
issues which must be addressed if children are to be safe
on the road.
In 2011, 398 pedal cyclists aged under 16 were killed or
seriously injured in Great Britian - and although this is 18%
lower than the 2005-09 average one death or serious 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 click
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.
Bikeability is designed to give cyclists the skills and confidence
to ride their bikes on today's roads. There are three levels:
Level one offers basic bike handling skills in a controlled
environment away from the roads.
Level two is taught on-road and teaches children to cycle planned
routes on local familiar roads offering real cycling
Level three will ensure cyclists can ride safely and competently in
all traffic conditions.
In Bedford, Bikeability is delivered mainly through middle
schools to young cyclists who will reach the age of 10 (or older in
that academic year). The Bedford Borough Council Road Safety
Team deliver the training. Please contact your child's
middle school in the first instance to check if they are
running courses and if not, ask them to consider doing so.
For young people who have not been able to get trained through
their middle school, weekend or school holiday training is offered
contact the Road Safety Team on 01234 228142 or email@example.com
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
How much does the training cost?
The actual charge is a decision for the individual
school. The true cost is not passed on to the school as the
Road Safety Team are able to access subsidies to keep the
costs to parents as low as possible.
Do the cyclists need to bring their own
Yes. And it is very important that bikes are roadworthy;
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)
Do cyclists need to wear a helmet?
Yes. 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 as they restrict both hearing and
visability both key senses for staying safe on the
Is it safe for the trainees to go on the
It is necessary for trainees to go on the road - the purpose of
the training is to help them be safer when cycling on the road. We
take measures to increase safety during the training:
- All instructors are fully trained
- All instructors are monitored regulaly
- All trainees and instructors wear hi-visibility waistcoats
- All training sites are risk assessed
What else does the training provide?
A vital part of the training is the pre-course parent/student
pack. We provide this about three weeks before the training starts.
All trainees are expected to read 'Arrive Alive' the Highway
Code for Young Road Users provided, and to complete the Highway
Code test sheet also provided before they attend the course -
ideally with the support of parents.
To get involved in cycle training at your school contact
the school's Bikeability Co-ordinator or alternatively if
you would like further information on cycle training in Bedford
contact the Road Safety Team on 01234 228336 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Bikeability visit the web site:
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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 the 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