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Editor,—I have some comments with regard to the article by Macarthur et al on evaluating a bicycle skills training program.1
The CAN-BIKE Festival is the best introduction to bicycle safety that exists. Participants in the festivals are exposed to the issues for safe cycling, namely appropriate equipment and on-bike skill development. The intent is to encourage participants to go on to further training through the CAN-BIKE I course. No one would expect 90 minutes of instruction, in absence of any reinforcing messages, to turn a young rider into a “safe” rider.
Our society does not yet recognise the need for bicycle skills training. Many parents believe that once their children can balance on a bike they are ready to go. Contrast this with swimming lessons. Parents recognise that when it comes to water safety their children need lessons every year and that messages given in training are reinforced outside of lesson time.
The children in the study received their instruction in school and so their parents may or may not have been exposed to the lessons taught. Many parents are not aware of safe cycling practices and so cannot reinforce what their children have been taught.
The festival is an improvement over the traditional “bike rodeo” that tends to focus more on fun as opposed to skill development. The skills presented in the festival can only be mastered if they are practised on a regular basis and built on over time.
I would argue that the CAN-BIKE Festival is a bottom-up approach. This is something a community can take on as its own. Anyone can become an instructor and share their knowledge and skills with others.