It’s never too early to get kids cycling. Around the age of 10, some children begin riding their bikes to school by themselves. Professional, on-road cycle training is available to help children gain the skills and confidence they need to prepare them for cycling safely on roads.
Organisations like Bikeability, Cycling Scotland and Cycle Training Wales run training sessions for all ages and abilities, and cover topics from balance and control to planning independent journeys on busier roads. Schools can arrange for professional trainers to deliver courses with their pupils.
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 and is suitable for children aged eight and upwards. Bikeability training involves three levels of training and assessment:
- Level 1 takes place off-road (e.g. on a playground) and involves a two-hour session with three to 12 students per instructor. Level 1 focuses on getting the rider and bike ready, and being able to control the cycle well. Level 1 is typically delivered in school years 3 and 4.
- Level 2 takes place on quiet roads and aims to enable students to cycle safely to school or local amenities using quiet local roads, with at least two instructors for a group of no more than 12 students. Once a child has completed Level 1 training, they can progress to Level 2, and are taught where to ride, how to communicate with other road users, the priority system, and how to appropriately observe their surroundings. Level 2 is typically delivered in school years 5 and 6.
- 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. Riders will have successfully completed Level 2 training. Level 3 is typically delivered in secondary schools.
To find out if Bikeability is offered in your area, contact your local road safety officer.
Find out more about cycle training
- In England – www.bikeability.org.uk
- In Scotland – www.cycling.scot
- In Wales – www.cycletrainingwales.org.uk
The following organisations can provide information to help you find the safest local cycling routes, as well as point you to kit and training and link you up with other cyclists.
Brake recommends that children under the age of 10 should always ride with a grown up and should only cycle on safe, segregated paths away from motorised traffic. Our short, animated film for children called We Love to Cycle explains how to stay as safe as possible when riding a bike.