With the Tour De France starting in Britain this week, cycling has never been more popular. With the success of the British Olympic cycling team bringing home numerous gold medals, it’s inspired a whole new generation of cyclists, be it competitively or purely recreationally.
More and more families are also getting involved, using cycling as a way to keep active and explore the great outdoors. But how do you ensure that your child is safe on their bike? Obviously all parents know the virtues of ensuring their child has a well-fitting helmet, wears high visibility clothing when riding on busy roads, and ensuring their bike is in good working order, but what about children knowing the rules of the road, being in control of their bike and confident enough to go cycling on their own when old enough.
Bikeabilty is the cycling proficiency for the 21st century.
In the past children would undertake a cycling proficiency course to ensure they were ready to go out on the roads with their bike. However the cycling proficiency in it’s old from is no more, instead it has been replaced with what is called ‘Bikeability’.
Bikeabilty is the cycling proficiency for the 21st century, it consists of three levels designed to give children (and adults!) the confidence and skill to ride their bikes on busy roads. Levels 1, 2 and 3 take trainees on a journey from the basics of balance and control, all the way through to planning and making a journey by themselves on busier roads.
Children will typically start Bikeability lessons once they have learnt to ride a bike. Level 1 will help new riders to control their bike before they move on to developing on-road skills at Level 2. Level 2 is usually tackled by children in Years 5 or 6, before they leave primary school. Level 3 teaches trainees how to ride in different and more challenging traffic situations, and is usually completed by children of secondary school age.
Most schools offer Bikeability, usually as an after-school activity, however it isn’t compulsory for schools to provide Bikeabilty. If you child’s school has not signed up for Bikeability you can encourage them to sign up, there is a lot of funding that schools can tap into from the Department for Transport to help them deliver Bikeability every year, or you can search for a Bikeability provider that delivers training in your local area using the search option on the Bikeability website.
Everything you need to know about bikeability is at www.bikeability.dft.gov.uk and it’s not just for children, so whether your kids are pestering you to get out on your bike with them, or you want to encourage them to join you, Bikeability is for you.