This review, conducted by Dr Jan Garrard and Dr Elliot Fishman, evaluated the effectiveness of adult cycling proficiency courses for increasing utilitarian cycling. As part of this project we looked at the available literature on evaluation studies, including those that:
- Assessed the impacts of bicycle training courses alone; and
- Assessed the impacts of multi-component programs where bicycle training is included along with other components such as promotional campaigns, personalised travel planning, and improvements to cycling infrastructure and cycling conditions (eg traffic calming).
The methodological constraints identified in this study notwithstanding, this review found that baseline and follow-up surveys of participants in programs conducted in Australia, New Zealand and the UK consistently reported high levels of enjoyment and appreciation of the programs and increased skills, confidence and cycling. These effects were persistent, at least for up to one year follow-up . While most studies (particularly involving surveys conducted several months post-program) have low response rates, and consequently the potential for non-response bias; however, a Sydney study with a 95% response rate reported similar impacts to studies with low response rates.
For stand-alone adult cycling courses, the proportion of course participants reporting cycling more frequently after attending the course ranged from 24% to 71%. Some, but not all studies reported that participants who cycled infrequently or never before attending the course were more likely to report increased cycling after attending the course.
The review found mixed evidence as to who benefits most from bicycle training. Courses designed for novice ridders appear to attract more women than men. The program that reported the greatest increase in cycling (average number of bicycle trips per week more than doubled post-program) involved one-to-one (rather than group) instruction, and included children and adults.