Children’s Cycling in Australia: A Review of Determinants, The Role of Social Connectedness and Implications for Policy and Practice
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Children's physical health, their emotional health and social wellbeing is reliant on their ability to travel independently and collectively with other children. Children's bicycle riding, particularly riding to school, is increasingly recognized as important, yet in Australia very few children cycle to school. As part of a broader project on children's independent mobility, this research seeks to identify the determinants of child bicycle riding and to explore associations between cycling and social connectedness. The intent is to identify if and how social environment influence children's cycling behaviors and how, in turn, cycling may help shape children's social connections, within particular neighborhood types. Theoretical insights into the roles of lead users and opinion leaders, derived from Kratzer and Lettl (2009), are fused with early experiences in the CATCH (Children's Active Travel, Connectedness and Health) project, to explore dimensions of cycling take-up and usage amongst children. These help frame a research agenda around child cycling and social connectedness that focuses on the phase of child development (aged 7-11 years) when children first develop key social perspectives and are given 'licenses' by parents for independent mobility. The scope and parameters for this research agenda are explored in detail. The questions raised, if answered, have the potential to significantly improve bicycle promotion activities and other policies targeting children's travel behavior.
35th Australasian Transport Research Forum Proceedings
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