Many of us loved teaching our children to ride their first bike. It is one of those milestones that a family never forgets. But when are they ready for the road?
Feeling proud that not only is your child pedaling away unaided but they are also wearing their protective helmet after a little persuasion, is a great moment. Then reality sinks in that one day your child will want to ride their bicycle on the road - with other traffic! Fear not, there is a fantastic way to make sure that your family is road worthy.
Bikeability was developed by more than 20 professional organisations including the Royal Society for Prevention against Accidents and is supported by cross-Government departments including the Department for Transport, Department of Health and Department for Children, Schools and Families.
The ultimate vision is that no child should leave primary school without the opportunity to take part in Bikeability training.
Level 1 teaches basic skills and bicycle handling and is usually covered in a traffic free environment. Those completing Level 1 will be able to demonstrate the skills and understanding to be able to make a trip and undertake activities safely in a motor traffic free environment and as a pre-requisite to a road trip.
Level 2 gives children the skills they need to cycle safely to school on minor roads. Level 2 is covered on quiet roads but with real traffic conditions. Those completing Level 2 will be able to demonstrate the skills and understanding to be able to make a trip safely to school, work or leisure on quiet roads.
Level 3 covers more complicated traffic environments. Level 3 is covered on busy roads incorporating real traffic conditions and advanced road features. Those completing Level 3 will be able demonstrate the skills and understanding to be able to make a trip safely to school, work or leisure on busy roads and using complex junctions and road features.
Level 1 award is designed for children aged up to 9 when they start to cycle on off-road facilities or when supervised by adults, while Level 2 training is usually offered to children aged 10 – 11 years old (in school years 5 or 6), allowing them to put their new skills into action on the school trip and riding with parents.
Level 3 training is aimed at older children and adults who want to travel freely in a wide range of conditions and when they are likely to do longer journeys and seek independence.
The information accompanying each level of the award gives clear advice to both children and parents on what trips the child is trained to make following their training, parents are then encouraged to give the child as much practice as possible to keep their skills fresh and build experience. The daily journey to school is ideal for this.