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Accid Anal Prev. 2013 Jan;50:688-97. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2012.06.021. Epub 2012 Jul 15.

Children's cycling skills: Development of a test and determination of individual and environmental correlates.

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Ghent University, Department of Movement and Sports Sciences, Watersportlaan 2, 9000 Gent, Belgium.



Children's ability to perform cycling skills was found to play an important role in cycling accidents. Therefore, this study developed a test to gain a detailed insight into the cycling skills of 9-10 year old children and evaluated individual and physical environmental correlates of cycling skills.


Children (n=93) took a cycling test consisting of 13 test stations. In addition, parents completed a questionnaire on school commuting behavior. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted to investigate the factor structure of the cycling test and ICC's were calculated to examine interrater reliability. Descriptive statistics were executed on children's cycling skill scores. Regression analyses were conducted to evaluate individual and environmental correlates of cycling skills.


Three factors were extracted: the 'during-cycling skills', the 'before/after-cycling skills' and a 'transitional-cycling skills' factor. These factors accounted for 56.74% of the total variance. Furthermore, intraclass correlation coefficients ranged from 0.75 to 0.98. For all cycling skill, except two, 50% of children scored higher than 7.5/10. Additionally, 18.4% of children scored lower than 3/10 on at least two cycling skills. Parental perceived motor competence of the child explained 10% of the variance in cycling skills (β=0.33), residential density explained 12% of the variance (β=-0.37).


In order to get an overall picture of the cycling skills of children, the 'during-cycling skills', the 'before/after-cycling skills' and the 'transitional-cycling skills' need to be examined. Furthermore, Flemish children of the 4th grade scored well on cycling skills. However, cycle training programs should focus more on one-handed skills and those children scoring lower than 3/10 on one or more cycling skills.

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