What are ways to teach bicycling skills?


Two main ways to teach bicycling skills include: bicycle rodeos and bicycle safety training.
1. Bicycle rodeos are one-time events for children to practice basic bicycling techniques and can serve as an opportunity to check children's bicycles for fit and functioning and to provide instruction on proper helmet use. Rodeos require a knowledgeable instructor and use a simulated setting for practice. Simulated settings may be playgrounds or parking lots set up with stop signs, traffic cones, and other props. Often a stop sign course is set up to teach children how to stop and look for oncoming traffic. Other activities teach balance, stopping, turning and control. Rodeos are often community-sponsored instead of solely conducted by a school.

  • Benefit: require less time than bicycle safety training.
  • Drawback: children may not retain and be able to apply skills because of the short timeframe for education.

2. Bicycle safety training generally lasts five to ten hours over several sessions and includes both information and on-bicycle practice of safe ways to operate a bicycle. At the end of the course participants apply their knowledge and skills in simulated or actual on-road settings. Simulated activities are as described for a bicycle rodeo, but allow more time for practice and mastery.

Knowledgeable instructors may be available from the local law enforcement agency or bicycle club. For example, the League of American Bicyclists offers trained instructors to teach their Bicycle Education program.

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