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Bikeability training to be offered to adults in England from August

First 3,000 places will be offered free, according to Sunday Times report

Bikeability ​training will be offered to adults in England looking to switch to two wheels to get around from next month, according to a report in The Sunday Times.

The newspaper says that the initiative is being championed by transport secretary Grant Shaps who is said to be “actively looking” at helping new bike riders, as well as those getting back in the saddle.

> Offer adults free training to help shift to cycling, say experts

Bikeability Trust executive director Emily Cherry said: “Most taking up training are cyclists who have been enjoying the relative quietness of roads in the first few weeks [of lockdown] but are now worried as roads get busier and traffic increases.

“Learners also fear a reduction in the number of cyclists around them as traffic volumes increase.”

She revealed that to date, none had raised the question of how they should deal with aggressive motorists.

“If this [issue] came up, instructors would focus on the importance of eye contact, looking at drivers and signalling with intent ... so they see you as human and not simply as another vehicle on the road.”

While there are already plans for Bikeability to be offered free to all primary school pupils in England, Cherry is pushing for it to be extended to older age groups.

“I think it would help to have compulsory training at the end of primary school,” she said, drawing a parallel with swimming, which is included on the national curriculum.

“Jumping into a pool, a river, a lake is dangerous,” she explained. “Children have to demonstrate by the end of primary school that they can swim. Could we do the same for cycling?”

AA president Edmund King agreed that road safety should be included within the national curriculum and also supported free cycle training for adults who are new to cycling.

He told The Sunday Times: “As with learner car drivers, it is crucial for cyclists to understand the rules of the road, manoeuvring skills and positive interactions with other road users,” he said.

“Often drivers are also cyclists and pedestrians and vice versa, so it seems bizarre that some react differently depending on their mode of transport.”

As workplaces gradually reopen as the country slowly emerges from lockdown, the government is encouraging people to walk or cycle rather than drive or use public transport.

However, there’s no news yet on when £50 Fix Your Bike vouchers, first announced by Shapps back in May and due to have been released to the public last month, will be available.

> Details finally emerge of government's Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme – and it doesn't sound as easy as riding one

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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7 comments

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0-0 | 3 years ago
3 likes

Any news on Carability training for people who can't overtake cyclists safely?

Avatar
essexian | 3 years ago
4 likes

While more money for cycling can be good news.... not all cycling money is spent well, I have always been at a loss to understand why Bikeability is not part of the standard driving licence application process. In my eyes, you should first be required to pass your bikeability test, then a CBT on a moped before you are allowed anywhere near a car. 

 

Okay, for a small number of people with disabilities etc this won't be possible but I would like to think having to ride a bike on the road for a few hundred miles before being allowed into a car should help make the roads safer. 

Avatar
Sriracha replied to essexian | 3 years ago
1 like

Just like they should all have to be tested on the Highway Code? My guess is that many motorists have ridden a bike before, quite probably a few hundred miles at least. Makes sod all difference to their driving now.

However, getting more adult cyclists on the road will make a difference. Each one is likely one less car. And what they experience now just might make a difference to how they drive.

Avatar
Hirsute replied to Sriracha | 3 years ago
2 likes

Bit of a difference between a theory test and a practical test though.

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Sriracha replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago
1 like

True, if mastering a skill was the issue. What matters here is the experience of driver behaviour from the perspective of the cyclist.

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OnYerBike replied to Sriracha | 3 years ago
1 like
Sriracha wrote:

My guess is that many motorists have ridden a bike before, quite probably a few hundred miles at least.

Really? My guess would be most people learned to ride a bike as young children, and probably rode around local parks while their parent(s) followed on foot. But as soon as they outgrow that stage, cycling normally stops. 

Avatar
ktache | 3 years ago
1 like

I think it was mentioned in a comment on this very website, but making eye contact is all well and good, but as you are in the final approach it's the wheels you want to be looking at, this will indicate the slightest movement of the motor vehicle, the bit that if it hits you will hurt.

And also mentioned in an article, the £50 is meant for almost bringing a bike back from the dead, not a bit of fettleing of the good bike.  Shame for us, unless of course you allowed a bike to properly rot in the shed.  Though, seeing the previous this government has for announcement then delivering it could all be very different when it finally arrives.

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