Am I making a difference? If reflective practice is the cornerstone of professional integrity, instructors who ask themselves this question are probably already delivering high quality and effective Bikeability training. But how do we (and others – commissioners, DfT, HMT) know for sure that Bikeability makes a difference, or what that difference is?
This TABS 2014 conference workshop set out to answer these questions by reviewing current evidence and studies demonstrating the quality and effectiveness of cycle training in general and Bikeability in particular. Workshop delegates were asked to reflect on their own professional practice by answering two questions:
- What are we trying to achieve?
- How do we know if we are getting there?
• Key points from the discussion:
Their answers illuminate the diverse range of different views that inform the starting points, contexts and priorities for Bikeability today. Bikeability schemes believe they are contributing to the following outcomes:
• Health – fewer casualties, more physical activity, less obesity
• Transport – modal shift from motorised to active travel
• Cycling - Bikeability achievement and progression, more people cycling
• Environment – cleaner air, carbon reduction
• Society– community cohesion, improved educational attainment
• Well being - greater independence, competence and confidence.
Yet most monitoring arrangements do not help Bikeability schemes to know how well they are contributing to these outcomes. Schemes return input and output data (funding spent, numbers trained/achieving training outcomes) to Bikeability commissioners and the Department for Transport. In addition, schemes also collect feedback on the quality of training provision from pupils, parents, schools and adult trainees. However, they rely on external administrative datasets for observing changes to the diverse set of outcomes outlined above. Examples here include STAT19 recording road conflicts involving cyclists, cycle counters measuring traffic flows, and annual school census data.
A missing link was identified between the close monitoring of inputs, outputs and quality on the one hand, and the wider health, transport, environment etc. outcomes on the other. This gap makes it difficult for schemes to know how their work is contributing to wider outcomes, and how training delivery might change to improve quality, effectiveness and impact. A national primary data collection focused on cycling and physical activity outcomes, was proposed.