Improving Child Cyclists’ Looking Behaviour and Situation Awareness

Recent research has shown that immersive VR training not only improves children’s on-road cycling performance (Bishop, Dkaidek, et al., 2022), but also their confidence and attitudes toward cycling on roads (Bishop, Daylamani-Zad, et al., 2022). To build on these findings, we are running a community-based project in which we will assess 9-11-year-olds’ looking behaviour and situation awareness as they cycle on roads, before and after they complete an immersive VR cycle training intervention. We will also examine the effects of our intervention on parent/carer confidence in their children’s on-road cycling ability; our recent data (in preparation) suggests that parental attitudes regarding cycling strongly influence their children’s cycling behaviour.

We will present our findings from this project, together with our views regarding the feasibility of nationwide rollout of immersive cycle training via registered Bikeability cycle training providers. We will also discuss the viability of several innovations integral to this project:

  1. A Rider Assessment that can be quickly and easily completed by Bikeability instructors to assess riders’ competence vis-à-vis the 4 Core Functions laid out in the National Standard for Cycle Training.
  2. An on-road protocol for capturing cyclists' looking behaviour and situation awareness as they cycle, in a way that yields useful and meaningful data.
  3. Video-based tests for assessing young cyclists’ situation awareness before and after on-road and/or immersive training.
  4. A Cycling Self-Efficacy Questionnaire, which can be used to assess riders’ beliefs in their cycling ability in relation to the 4 Core Functions.

Dr Dan Bishop, Senior Lecturer, Brunel University

Dr Dan Bishop is a Senior Lecturer at Brunel University London, a BPS Chartered Sport & Exercise Psychologist, and an HCPC-registered Practitioner Psychologist. He is also a highly experienced commuter cyclist who has two boys aged 8 and 11 years.

Dr Bishop is engaged in a Knowledge Transfer partnership with The Bikeability Trust, to generate real-world impact from his research – including this project and related projects being delivered in collaboration with other Bikeability training providers.

Julie Turrell, Principal Officer – Road Safety Engagement, East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Julie Turrell is the Principal Officer – Road Safety Engagement for East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

Having retired as a police officer with 30 years' service, she now manages a team of 14 staff delivering road safety interventions and campaigns across East Yorkshire. She is a keen cyclist who voluntarily leads rides as part of the British Cycling Breeze and Guided Ride programmes.