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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Cycle training

Whether you're a child, adult, complete beginner or you need practice before cycling on busy roads, cycle training can help improve your cycling skills. The National Standard is the most common form of cycle training. Find out what you'll learn at each level and where it's available.  

Bikeability - National Standard cycle training for children and adults

The National Standard is a nationally agreed programme for cycle training. It was developed by experts, including the government, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and cycling organisations. In England, National Standard cycle training is provided as 'Bikeability' training. There are three levels of training: from learning basic cycling skills to cycling in traffic.

You may be able to get National Standard cycle training if you live elsewhere in the UK.

Where to start your Bikeability training and what you'll learn

You'll learn new skills and practise dealing with real traffic conditions at each level of Bikeability training. Bikeability is aimed at younger children at levels one and two. Level three is aimed at older children and adults. Your trainer will assess your bike skills before you start the training. They'll then give you advice about which level you should start at and how much training you'll need before you can cycle safely.

What you'll learn at level one

Level one is where you learn to control your bike. It's usually taught in a traffic-free environment. By completing level one, you'll be able to ride where there are no cars and be ready to start your road training. You'll know how to:

  • get on and off your bike, start off, pedal and stop without help
  • ride along without help for roughly one minute or more
  • make the bike go where you want
  • use the gears
  • stop quickly with control
  • manoeuvre safely to avoid objects
  • look all around, including behind, and signal right and left without wobbling
  • carry out a simple bike check

What you'll learn at level two

To complete level two you need to show you can make a trip safely on quiet roads and cycle lanes. You'll learn about:

  • completing a cycle journey on the road
  • being aware of everything around you as you ride
  • how and when to signal your intentions to other road users
  • where to ride on the roads
  • passing parked or slower moving vehicles
  • passing side roads
  • turning right into a major road and left into a minor road
  • turning left into a major road and right into a minor road
  • taking the correct carriageway lane when you need to
  • choosing and using cycle lanes
  • interpreting road signs and applying the rules of the Highway Code

Bikeability badges

When you finish a Bikeability course you'll receive a badge that shows the level you have completed

What you'll learn at level three

Level three is taught on busy roads. Once you have completed it, you should be able to cycle to most places safely and you'll know how to:

  • use roundabouts
  • use junctions controlled by traffic lights
  • use multi-lane roads and turn off into them
  • filter - how and when to join traffic and position yourself to pass parked cars or deal with junctions, including roundabouts
  • use on and off-road cycle facilities, like cycle lanes or crossings
  • identify and deal with hazards, like parked cars
  • plan a safe and convenient route

What you need to start Bikeability training

Before you start, make sure your bike is roadworthy. Your qualified instructor can help you check your bike, set it up and show you how to make any minor adjustments. See 'Getting your bike ready to ride' for information on how to check your bike. There's advice in 'Cycling safely' about choosing appropriate clothing for cycling and accessories, like lights and a helmet.

Bikeability for children

Children can start Bikeability lessons once they have learned to ride a bike, usually when they are around 7 to 9 years old (level one). They will usually receive level two training in Year 6 (10 to 11 year olds). Older teenagers in secondary schools can do level three.

Bikeability is not on the National Curriculum and is not compulsory.

Where to get Bikeability training and how much it costs

Bikeability training can only be delivered by quality instructors who are accredited to deliver it and have passed the National Standard cycle training course

Most local councils provide Bikeability training for children at local schools. Some schools also offer Bikeability training directly.

You can also get adult training from some local councils. Check what's available and whether it meets the National Standard with your local council or school.

Most cycle training for children is free but you'll need to check with your local council. Some councils charge a small amount for adult training.

You can also get training from an independent cycle training provider.

Contact your local council for information about the cycle training available in your area.

Additional links

THINK! road safety advice

Find out how to stay safe on the roads with THINK! facts and stats, adverts and games

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Plan your cycle route

Use the journey planner to find a cycle route in local areas

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