Social Research Transport Research Summary 2011 - Cycle Training in Primary Schools Research

Barriers to On-Road Training

The biggest concern relating to on-road training was being able to ensure pupil safety.

Identifying enough volunteers to deliver on-road training safely was the most significant and common barrier identified by teachers, support staff and parents. All agreed that generally more volunteers were required to deliver
on-road than off-road training, and volunteers required more intensive training.

Volunteering to assist with on-road training is seen as more of a responsibility than assisting with playground based training, due to concerns over pupil safety.

Resistance to change (amongst teachers and support staff) was also a barrier, with some participants seeing no reason to change what they saw as effective off-road cycle training programmes.

There were also some barriers to introducing any type of cycle training. Three schools indicated that some of their pupils would not own or be able to borrow a bike to take part in the training. All three schools were in areas of relatively high deprivation.

Schools with sustainable on-road cycle training programmes had often faced these challenges, but introduced strategies to address these. For example, schools had:

  • piloted on-road training with support from Community Wardens as volunteers;
  • identified staff to act as volunteers, with some support from parents;
  • used a staged approach to move from playground based to on-road training gradually;
  • introduced intensive training for regular volunteers;
  • put up signs to alert drivers and required children to wear fluorescent tabards; and/ or
  • asked children to share bicycles or borrowed bicycles from the local authority.

However, attracting adequate numbers of volunteers often remained the most significant ongoing challenge for sustaining on-road cycle programmes.

Where schools were able to dedicate staff time to volunteering, this appeared to provide more sustainability – with a skilled team able to develop expertise and support parent volunteers as required. Ongoing support, training and guidance from Road Safety Officers and Active Schools
Co-ordinators was also essential.