NFER research finds children more confident about cycling and better able to perceive and respond to hazards thanks to a Bikeability training programme
23 March 2015
Children are more confident about cycling on the road and are able to recognise and respond more appropriately to hazards when they complete a Bikeability training programme, according to research published today by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), one of the UK’s leading independent research organisations.
The results are encouraging news given that, in the UK, the risk of someone who cycles being killed or seriously injured is reported to be the highest among young cyclists aged 10-15 ¹.
The NFER research looks at the impact of Bikeability training on children’s ability to perceive and respond appropriately to hazards while cycling. The key findings are:
- Children who participated in Bikeability Level 2 training scored significantly higher on a quiz devised to assess their ability to perceive and appropriately respond to on-road hazards than the children who had not received training; this effect was undiminished even when the children re-took the quiz more than two months later.
- Children who received training reported that they felt more confident when cycling on the road after training. However, this did not lead them to cycle more frequently.
Claire Hodgson, research director in the Centre for Assessment at NFER, said: “For many, learning to ride a bike is a developmental milestone. Cycling can give you a sense of freedom and increase your independence. Our research shows that Bikeability has led to a direct benefit in making children more confident about their cycling abilities. Their improved hazard perception skills and increased ability to respond to hazards, as demonstrated by their answers to the on-screen quiz, implies that children are well-placed to develop the skills and confidence needed to cycle on today’s roads.”
Bikeability is a practical, skill-based training programme designed to boost the confidence of cyclists and minimise risk, and is available through schools. It encourages everyday cycling by developing skills, knowledge, and understanding required for cycling effectively and safely on the road.
A total of 668 pupils from 29 schools were involved in the study which tracked Year 5 (age 9 – 10) children in the summer term of 2014 as they went into Year 6 in Autumn. The research included an on-screen quiz and a questionnaire to find out about children’s attitudes towards cycling. The study was commissioned by The Bikeability Support Team at Steer Davies Gleave with funding from the Department for Transport.
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Notes to Editors:
¹ Knowles, J., Adams, S., Cuerden, R., Savill, T., Reid, S. and Tight, M. (2009a). Collisions Involving Cyclists on Britain’s Roads: Establishing the Causes (Report No. PPR 445). Bracknell: IHS [online]. Available: http://www.worthingrevolutions.org.uk/sites/worthingrevolutions.org.uk/files/PPR445.pdf [3 December, 2014