Cycle training for children: Which schools offer it and who takes part?
Journal of transport & health 2016 ; 2: 512-521.
PubMed ID : 26913228
PMCID : PMC4728135
The 'Bikeability' cycle training scheme, a flagship policy of the government in England, aims to give children the skills and confidence to cycle more safely and more often. Little, however, is known about the scheme׳s reach. This paper examined which schools offer Bikeability, and which children participate in cycle training.
We used operational delivery data to examine which primary schools in England offered Bikeability. Predictors included the deprivation level of the student body and the local prevalence of cycling. We then examined cycle training participation using data from 6986 participants (age 10-11) in the nationally-representative Millennium Cohort Study. Parents reported whether their child had completed formal cycle training, along with other child and family factors. We used operational data to identify children whose school had previously delivered Bikeability.
55% of schools offered Bikeability to the cohort of children leaving primary school in 2012; this fell to 48% in schools in the top tenth for student deprivation. Among Millennium Cohort participants, 47% of children had completed cycle training; this proportion rose to 68% among children whose schools had offered Bikeability. In adjusted robust Poisson regression models, participation rates were lower among minority ethnic children, particularly South Asians; among children who played sport less often; and among children whose parents were poorer or less educated. The magnitude of these differences was largest among children whose schools had not offered Bikeability (all ≤0.02 for interaction, except for income where =0.09), although trends in the same direction were observed in schools that had offered Bikeability.
Offering high-quality cycle training free of charge in English schools reduced but did not eliminate inequalities in cycle training participation. Further promoting the scheme to parents and schools, particularly in deprived areas, would be expected to increase uptake and help reduce current inequalities in participation.