In 2012 the City of Terrassa implemented a series of cycle training sessions at schools for pupils aged 11, 12 and 13 years old. These training sessions aimed to improve childrens skills when cycling in town.
Background & Objectives
In order to increase cycle use, the City of Terrassa has carried out cycle training for children in the last class at primary schools and first class at high schools. Theses training sessions aim to improve pupil’s skills to ride a bike in town in a confident and safe way, develop positive attitudes regarding our streets and increase knowledge and awareness about car traffic. These sessions are not for those pupils who are not able to ride a bike, but for those who already ride a bike and want to improve their skills and confidence. The training sessions were inspired by the English Bikeability Program, designed to give the next generation the skills and confidence to ride their bikes on today’s roads.
Training sessions are carried out in groups of between 10 and 20 pupils at Level 1 (training within school’s venues), and groups of 5-10 pupils at Levels 2 and 3 (training in the street). Each pupil is provided with a reflective safety jacket, with the name and the logo of the initiative. These jackets are given to schools, so they can be used in the future training sessions. Pupils bring along their own bikes and cycle helmets.
Training sessions are basically practical, but they also contain some theoretical content. There are three different levels, divided in 2 sessions and lasting 3 hours each session. Certificates are given at the completion of each level.
A summary of each training level is provided below:
Level 1, Control your bike: This training is provided within school’s venues or in places without car traffic;
Level 2, Basic riding in streets: At this level, a actual riding experience in streets is provided, so that participants are able to deal with traffic in short journeys and streets without much traffic;
Level 3, Advanced riding in streets: At this level a real riding experience is also provided, but this time in major roads with more traffic;
Additionally, there is a different training for teachers in order to instruct them to become a trainee for the following years. These sessions last 4 hours and are primarily practical.
Several studies show that one of the main barriers for people to ride is the fact they do not use their bikes as a mean of transport. Having the chance of bringing people to ride their bikes in town, even if it is just during a traing session, is a good way of overcoming this identified obstacle.
These training sessions not only improve young people’s skills to ride a bike and gain confidence, but also try to break the barrier of not using bikes in daily life.
It is also important to underline that improving a new generation’s skills to ride a bike is not only a benefit for their autonomy, but it also is a way to pass on bike culture to their families. Furthermore, training sessions are also a tool to increase awareness among teachers,and they also help to make cycling more visible in town.
- By July 2012, 82 pupils have partipated in the cycle training sessions (and at this point only 7% of planned cycle training sessions have been already carried out);
- 67 teachers have participated in instructor training (during the 42% of instructor trainings that have been carried out so far).
A survey is scheduled soon to also measure the impact of the training sessions on pupils attitudes and use of cycles following the training sessions.