News article

Social environment versus cycling competency predicting risk-taking in 11- to 13-year-old cyclists in the Netherlands

SWOV researcher Vlakveld coauthored the article 'Social environment versus cycling competency predicting risk-taking in 11- to 13-year-old cyclists in the Netherlands'. From age 12 onwards, cycling injuries begin rising in The Netherlands. A known contributing factor is younger children’s underdeveloped competency to deal with complex and hazardous traffic situations, and their exposure to such situations strongly increases after transitioning to secondary school.

Little is known about intentional risk-taking as a contributing factor. In this developmental stage, children become increasingly vulnerable because of intentional risk-taking, affecting their safety and health. The incidence, predictors in the child’s social environment, and trends of such risks are systematically monitored; for instance, for alcohol use, smoking, and cyber bullying. Such monitors do not include risky road behavior. This exploratory field study examined the frequency of intentional risky cycling, its relationship with the perceived social environment, and relative to cycling competency measured as the ability to detect emerging hazards quickly.

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