What we’ve learned and where we’re going with our Adult Bicycle Education Program


Our programs are central to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s mission of promoting the bicycle for everyday transportation, and are essential in breaking down barriers to bicycling. We know that a major barrier for people newer to biking is a lack of knowledge and confidence, which is why, through our Adult Bicycle Education Program, we offer free, multilingual classes for all experience levels. We teach about 800 adults annually, in classes for those who’ve never been on a bike before to regular commuters who’re looking to sharpen their skills

We survey class participants before and after they take the class to ensure our classes reach communities who we’ve historically underserved, and that our content is useful in giving people the tools to safely and confidently bike.

Anecdotally, we know our classes have a strong impact. One student wrote about their experience, “The course was a great intro and touched on some topics that, even though I used to ride every day to/from college, I didn’t know.” While that input is important, we also strive to take a data-driven approach to measuring the program’s success. To do so, we analyze pre- and post-class surveys to gain an understanding of who we’re serving and the impact of our classes.

In 2021, just over half of our students were between the ages of 21-40; a significant majority were female or non-binary; and people of East Asian descent comprised a plurality of our students. We feel excited that our classes largely serve women of color, as women, non-binary folks, and people of color have historically been underserved in our work. We look forward to growing in our ability to serve these groups by continuing to deepen our non-English programming in 2022.  

We also use the survey to assess behavior change post-class. Six-weeks after taking a class, 1/3 of respondents report biking more frequently, and we also see increases in student confidence and perceptions of safety, both when biking in traffic and in car-free space. 

Furthermore, the data show that students have really positive experiences at our classes. 88% of respondents rated their class experience as either “good” (27%) or “excellent” (61%). 69% of respondents shared that they would be “very likely” to recommend this course. One student wrote, “From someone who doesn’t know how to ride to now being able to, that’s pretty amazing. If someone like me who had no confidence to ride can do it, anyone can!”

Our 2021 classes had a big impact in getting more people biking more often, and we’re looking forward to continuing to build on this work in 2022. Could you or someone in your life benefit from our free classes? Let them know that they can sign up for an upcoming class here! Hope to see you or one of your loved ones at a class soon.  

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