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Getting Junior Cyclists Ready for the Summer Holidays

As the school summer holidays are nearly upon us, I would strongly recommend that all junior cyclists undertake some kind of road safety training.

The summer holidays are the perfect time for getting children out and about in the fresh air and sunshine. Whether you’re interested in family bike rides, children’s cycle safety courses or just teaching your kids new skills, there are plenty of cycling activities available to keep children occupied throughout the holiday period.

If your kids are starting to ask if they can go off unaccompanied on their bikes or on rides with their friends, they’re going to need to learn a few important skills and rules about safety.

I have dealt with a number of cycling accident claims and I believe it’s crucial that any junior cyclists, whatever their level or whether they’re interested in BMX, road, mountain biking or track, are taught the fundamentals of road safety.

Understandably, the biggest concern for parents when it comes to their children walking and cycling to school is the danger of traffic. Sadly, this has inevitably led to more and more kids being ferried around in cars. Over the past decade, the number of children taking cycling proficiency tests in primary school or cycling to school alone has dived, with 42% of primary school children now being driven to school.

If children are taught about road safety, there’s no reason why they then cannot enjoy all the health benefits and freedom cycling can bring.

Once your child is confident cycling, getting them used to the traffic on today’s roads will develop them in several ways. Not only will they gain a sense of independence, they’ll also improve their fitness. More children cycling will lead to improved health and reduced congestion as well as helping kids increase their confidence and skills.

Cycle training is available across the country for both children and adults. If you are interested in helping your child to gain the confidence to cycle safely you can phone the National Cycle Training Helpline on 0844 736 8460/8461.

You can also find out if your child's school offers training schemes such as Bikeability - a three-badge award scheme designed to give children the skills they need to cycle safely.

Bikeability training sets out the skills for cyclists to be competent and confident on their bikes and is provided by instructors accredited to the National Standard for Cycle Training - whose qualification has been approved by the Cycle Training Standards Board. Instructors are accredited by approved centres.

Each level is designed to help improve your kids’ cycling skills, regardless of what they already know. Levels 1, 2 and 3 teach children the basics of balance and control, through to route planning and cycling solo on busier roads.

Children will typically start Bikeability lessons once they have learnt how to ride a bike. Assessment for the level 1 award is designed for children aged up to nine years-old and will help them control their bike before they move on to developing on-road skills at Level 2.

Level 2 is usually offered to children aged 10-11 allowing them to put their new skills to test on school trips or out riding with their parents. Level 3 training is aimed at older children and adults, and teaches trainees how to ride in more challenging traffic situations.

More than a million children have already received cycle proficiency training like this and I think it’s crucial as many children as possible have the opportunity to take part in training schemes and learn about the fundamental principles of basic road safety knowledge.

Jane Cooper is a Senior Personal Injury Solicitor specialising in cycling accident claims at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.

For a free consultation about how to claim compensation for a cycling accident injury call freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we will call you.

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