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Effectiveness: 1 Star Cost: $
Use: Unknown
Time: Short

Overall Effectiveness Concerns: While cycling skills clinics or rodeos can result in increases in knowledge and skills, a review of the research literature does not reveal any studies that document crash and injury reduction, at least not in isolation. There are insufficient evaluation data available to conclude that this countermeasure is effective.

The purpose of cycling skills clinics, bike fairs, or bike rodeos is to teach children bicycle handling skills such as starting, stopping, weaving to avoid objects, and the meaning of traffic signs and signals and some traffic laws. The intent of these types of activities is to introduce or reinforce bicycle safety concepts learned in a classroom with actual on-bike practice and application. It should be part of a more comprehensive program of traffic safety education and training, parent education, and other efforts.

A cycling skills clinic, bike fair, or rodeo is an event that lets children learn and practice bicycling skills. A clinic typically has several stations for specific skills and also includes bicycle and helmet inspections. Parental involvement can also be a valuable component of bicycle fairs, providing reinforcement of desired safe riding behaviors and modeling appropriate bicycling behaviors. Events should also include discussions and examples of proper bicycle helmet fitting. NHTSA collected many examples of these across the country and created a guide of best practices. NHTSA’s Cycling Skills Clinic Guide aids first-time or seasoned organizers in how to set-up a clinic, stations to choose based on their audience, station set-up, and teaching tools for volunteers, see

There are a number of bicycle safety courses and models for fairs, rodeos, and clinics. Using older bike rodeo as models, NHTSA developed a cycling skills clinic with the League of American Bicyclists (NHTSA, 2011) to provide a how-to guide including stations based on a basic, intermediate, or advanced skills. The League of American Bicyclists and the American Bicycling Education Association have certified instructors across the country to teach  levels of courses that include a combination of classroom and on-bicycle courses to people of all ages and skills. These courses teach more about defensive riding around traffic and about traffic laws.

Use: Bicycle safety fairs and rodeos are local events often run by law enforcement, school personnel, or other civic and volunteer organizations. There may be permanent “neighborhood” layouts where the rodeos are conducted, and the events may be scheduled as part of the elementary and middle school curriculum. Although the extent of use is unknown, they are increasingly implemented as part of Safe Routes to School projects and as part of pedestrian and bicycle safety efforts.

Effectiveness: While cycling skills clinics or rodeos can result in increases in knowledge and skills, a review of the research literature does not reveal any studies that document crash and injury reduction, at least not in isolation. One program of comprehensive education for preschool children and their parents, that included a skills and safety rodeo, led to a doubling of helmet use (Britt et al., 1998; Rivara & Metrik, 1998). Some studies have found that single-event bike rodeos did not lead to increases in knowledge or improvements in behaviors or attitudes (Macarthur et al., 1998); thus, bike rodeos need to be part of larger, more comprehensive programs. See Rivara and Metrik (1998) for a more in-depth discussion.

One study examined the effectiveness of the United Kingdom’s National Cycle Proficiency Scheme (NCPS), a nationwide bicycle training program for children (Teyhan et al., 2016). Its goal is to promote safe cycling by improving skills, knowledge, attitudes, behavior, and hazard awareness. The training courses for children during the final years of primary school consist of four to eight 1-1.5 hour sessions (usually in the school playground or on road), culminating in a Cycle Proficiency Test. The results of a longitudinal analysis reported that NCPS training was associated with children being more likely to cycle to school and engage in safety-related behaviors, such as owning and wearing helmets. The differences were moderate for 14-year-olds and persisted to age 16, but the effects were much smaller at the older age.

Costs: A one-time clinic or rodeo can be operated with volunteers at minimal cost. A permanent rodeo facility could cost thousands of dollars. Associated costs may include bicycle and helmet rentals, but many communities have bicycle coalitions that have purchased these resources and bring them in trailers to scheduled events, or have children or community members bring their own.

Time to implement: A one-time clinic or rodeo can be organized in a few months. Implementing a permanent program with a facility may take up to a year or longer.