Children’s Cycling for Transport in Selected Australian Urban Environments: Model shares and determinations of significance
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The past decade has seen a considerable decline in children's use of bicycles for transport in most non-European Western countries. In Australia children's cycling constitutes only four percent of the school mode share. Low levels of children's utilitarian cycling is influenced by relevant built, socio-economic and policy environment factors of which social factors such as parental perceptions of safety and 'stranger danger' have been identified as two key determinants within comfortable cycling distances. Children's cycling can enhance their presence in the urban environment and provide unstructured opportunities for social interaction. Parent and child social networks and views towards neighbourhood social connectedness play a significant role in their perceptions of safety. This paper using CATCH/iMATCH project data to explore parental and child perceptions towards their social and built environment reports on its relationship with cycling take-up and usage. The CATCH/iMATCH data was collected during 2011 - 2012 from primary school students in nine urban schools in Brisbane, Melbourne, Rockhampton and Perth, and involved parental and child questionnaires. Bicycle ownership was found to be substantially high across the study areas, however, comparatively few child respondents used bicycles to travel to specified destinations though there was a considerable latent demand for cycling. Significant associations were found between children's cycling for transport and a child's gender, the urban environment type, vehicle ownership and parental and child perceptions of safety. This paper highlights and informs urban policy on the underlying significance of parent and child perceptions of the built and social environment determinants associated with children's cycling patterns.
State of Australian Cities Conference
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