Preparing for Bikeability
What does my child need to take part in Bikeability?
Your child will need a bike which is in a roadworthy condition to take part in Bikeability. The Highway Code’s ‘Rules for Cyclists’ gives some pointers as to what condition is expected for on-road cycling, but, as a starting guide, your child’s bike should be the right size for them, have pumped up tyres and two working brakes. Instructors will show children how to check their bikes at the start of the first session, and will ensure that your child’s bike is safe for them to complete the training on.
Loan bikes might be available if your child does not have a suitable bike for training on. Please check with your child’s school if bikes will be available before the training takes place.
What should my child wear to take part in Bikeability?
Your child may wear their normal clothes, suitable for the season and weather. In colder months, warm layers and gloves are recommended.
The Bikeability scheme delivering the training may stipulate that helmets are required for training, and may provide children with high visibility tabards to wear.
For more information about safety equipment and what to wear, see the Highway Code’s ‘Rules for Cyclists’.
What kind of bike does my child need to take part in Bikeability?
Your child will need a bike which is in roadworthy condition. The Bikeability provider may be able to arrange for your child to borrow a bike for the training, but please check with your child’s school first.
BMX bikes are permitted in most circumstances so long as the bike has working brakes, and provided the bike has not been adapted to the extent that it is no longer suitable for use on the road. To be considered ‘roadworthy’, all bikes must be equipped with at least one braking system, and bikes with a saddle height over 635 millimetres must be fitted with front and rear brakes. The only exception to this rule is a fixed wheel bike; these bikes don’t have to have a rear brake.
The instructor leading the Bikeability session will have the final say on whether your child’s bike is safe for them to complete the training on, but allowances will be made wherever possible.
My child has lost the forms they were given that allow them to take part. Where can I find new ones?
The forms issued by Bikeability schemes differ from area to area. To ensure you get copies of the correct forms, please contact your child’s school to ask for spares.
During Bikeability training
My child is absent from school and will miss Bikeability. What can I do to make sure they can still take part?
If your child misses one of their Bikeability sessions it is likely that they can still take part in future sessions with the rest of their group, but they might not be able to complete all of the outcomes at their level because they won’t have had the opportunity to practise everything the group has been taught.
If they miss all of the training, or a number of sessions, it may be that they can still take part at a later date. Some Bikeability schemes will make sure children who missed out in one year can take part in the following year, and some schemes offer holiday courses. Please check with your child’s school (and the local Bikeability scheme, if advised) to see what the options are.
What happens in the event of poor weather?
Bikeability training will usually still take place in the event of poor weather – the training is supposed to reflect what it is really like to cycle on today’s roads, and rain, drizzle and cold are very realistic conditions! For this reason, your child should wrap up warm in the colder months and wear waterproof clothing if rain is likely.
The lead instructor will decide if training should go ahead in the event of very poor weather. Training might finish early if conditions become too cold or wet during the session. If training does not take place or finishes early the session will be rescheduled.
After Bikeability training
What will my child receive now that they have completed Bikeability?
Children who successfully complete Bikeability are awarded a badge and certificate. The badge is red for Level 1, orange for Level 2, and green for Level 3.
My child has completed Level 2. What next?
Bikeability is the gateway to all kinds of fun experiences by bike – the training is just the start! If your child is interested in cycling and wants to do more, they might want to join a local cycling club for BMXing, mountain biking, racing, or touring. Look out for local publicity for such groups, and ask your Bikeability instructor for advice on which groups are good for junior members and beginners.
A great way to practise the training that your child has received during Bikeability is to try cycling as a family, or let them cycle by themselves to school, to the local shops, cinema or swimming pool.
Level 3 training is recommended for older children who would like to learn how to ride in different and more challenging traffic situations.
My child didn’t pass Bikeability. What happens now?
Your child should have been given some feedback from their Bikeability instructor on areas that they need to do a bit more work on. It is recommended that you discuss these with your child so that they can be clear on how they can improve their skills and confidence. You might be able to help your child practise these areas, or you might want to ask a Bikeability scheme for some extra tuition.
Holiday catch-up or refresher courses might take place in your local area – look out for publicity in local press or on your local authority’s website. It is recommended that you contact your local authority or School Games Organiser Host School directly to register your interest in such courses.
How do I make a comment, complaint or suggestion about Bikeability?
We welcome all feedback about Bikeability. If your comments are in relation to training that is about to take place or has already taken place, please contact the Bikeability provider that is delivering the training. All Bikeability providers have feedback policies in place and they will be able to advise you of the best way to make your comments.
If your comments are about the Bikeability scheme in general and do not relate to a specific incident, please send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My child has lost their Bikeability badge. Can we have another?
Please contact the Bikeability provider that delivered your child’s training to see if they can supply a new badge.
I want my child to receive Bikeability. How can I organise this?
Many children will have the opportunity to participate in Bikeability through their school, most often when they reach Year 6. You can encourage your child’s school to contact their local authority and sign-up for Bikeability sessions.
If your child’s school hasn’t yet signed up for Bikeability or you think your child would benefit from some extra or more focused tuition, you can search for a Bikeability provider that delivers training in your local area using the find a course provider tool. Contact the providers listed for your area by phone or email to discuss your child’s training needs, session costs (if applicable) and timings.
My child has special needs. Can they participate in Bikeability?
Yes. Most children with special needs should be able to take part in Bikeability training with their peers. Instructors should make every effort to integrate any special needs requirements into their mainstream courses. Where practical problems arise, we would expect instructors to try to find alternatives.
A good practice guide on delivering inclusive cycle training was developed and published by the Department for Transport. The guide provides advice to National Standard Instructors on how to help disabled people achieve National Standard outcomes. The guide aims to equip instructors with the knowledge, confidence and potential strategies they might need to deliver effective cycle training to people with disabilities. It is expected that all Bikeability schemes are aware of the guide’s content.
At what age can children start Bikeability?
Children can start Bikeability Level 1 as soon as they can ride a bike without stabilisers. It’s recommended that beginners start with Level 1 so they can master their bike balance and control skills before moving on to Level 2, where they gain the skills and experience needed for making on-road trips.
Most children take part in Level 1 when they are in Years 4 or 5 (aged 8-10), and Level 2 when they are in Years 5 or 6 (aged 9-11), but, if you think that your child is ready to start learning at a younger age you could ask a local Bikeability provider about introductory courses or one to one tuition.
My child can’t ride without stabilisers yet. Can Bikeability help?
Bikeability training has most impact when children start from the point at which they can already ride without stabilisers, but some instructors may be able to accommodate children who still ride with stabilisers in the main group. They will try to teach your child to ride without stabilisers, time permitting.
Getting to grips with balance is often the hardest part of learning to ride without stabilisers – you can help by giving your child a balance bike to practice on, or by removing the stabilisers and pedals from their normal bike.
Bikeability instructors can provide one to one tuition prior to the main Bikeability training to help your child ride without stabilisers. You can search for a Bikeability scheme that delivers training in your local area using the find a course provider tool. Contact the schemes listed for your area directly to discuss your child’s training needs, session costs (if applicable) and timings.
There are three levels to Bikeability. Do children have to do all of them?
No, it is not compulsory to do all three levels of Bikeability. If your child already does a lot of cycling and has a good grasp of the basics, they might want to go straight to Level 2 or even Level 3, depending on their experience and road skills. The instructor will check that the level is appropriate for your child before starting, making sure that they can demonstrate the skills from the previous levels. The three levels have been designed around taking children on a natural pathway from the basics all the way to more complex journeys by bike, in a range of different road environments. For children to get the most from this pathway it is recommended that they take part in all three levels when there is the opportunity to do so.
How much does training cost?
Most Bikeability training delivered to school children is free, or at a minimal cost, because of Department for Transport funding for the scheme. Local authorities and School Games Organiser Host Schools are invited to apply for funds from the Department for Transport to help them deliver Bikeability every year. Parents may be asked to make a small contribution towards the cost of the training, depending on the area in which they live – your child’s school will make you aware of any costs.
If the training is being provided outside of school by an independent Bikeability provider (e.g. for extra help or one to one tuition) there will be a charge for the training. Check how much the training will cost when you are booking the sessions.
Can adults take part in Bikeability?
Yes, adults can take part in Bikeability. The skills taught as part of Bikeability will last a lifetime, and it is never too late to learn.
Your local authority might have an adult cycle training offer. They might call it Bikeability, or refer to the National Standard for cycle training, the standard upon which Bikeability is based. It is recommended that you check with your local authority about their adult cycle training offer – information is usually available from their website, under ‘cycling’ or ‘cycle training’. There may be a charge for training.
The training you receive can be built around your specific training needs – so, if there’s a particular route you would like to practise or a skill you’d like to work on, please make your instructor aware.
I’ve heard about the National Standard for cycle training. What’s the difference between this and Bikeability?
The National Standard for cycle training is the series of outcomes that cover the skills necessary for cyclists in different road conditions. It is built upon similar principles to training for motorcycle riders and car drivers, and was developed by over 20 expert organisations. The National Standard for cycle training is maintained by the Department for Transport.
Bikeability is underpinned by the National Standard for cycle training. Cycle training providers delivering Bikeability must use professional National Standard Instructors and operate within the Bikeability quality assurance system. Bikeability is therefore a quality mark for cycle training, identifying cycle training delivered to the highest standards.
We were expecting the instructors at our school today but they have not yet arrived. Who do we contact?
Your school should have been given contact details for the Bikeability provider that would be delivering training in your school when your sessions were confirmed. If you don’t have these to hand or can’t remember the name of the provider, please contact your local authority’s cycling or road safety team, or your School Games Organiser Host School. You can find contact details for your local authority by using the find a course provider tool.
Our school needs to reschedule the Bikeability sessions we have booked. How can we do this?
Please contact the Bikeability scheme that is due to deliver your training – your school should have been given contact details for the Bikeability scheme that would be delivering training in your school when your sessions were confirmed. The Bikeability scheme will try to accommodate your request.