Children on Bicycles Mobility Education
Promoting bicycle use among children and adolescents is, however, vital in shaping their travel behaviour later in life; integrating these efforts into road safety education serves multiple purposes: it promotes the independent mobility of children and adolescents; it creates awareness for an environmentally friendly transport mode; it triggers a respectful and safe behaviour in traffic; and it addresses the effects transport has on individuals and the environment. Another major purpose is the prevention of accidents; it is relevant even at later stages in life, since traffic death rates are highest among young people aged 18 to 23.
Designing for independent mobility
The active and independent mobility of children and adolescents requires, above all, space, depending on their height, body coordination skills, and their perception of traffic speed and level of traffic experience. Adequate space is needed not only at playgrounds but also in the road environment so that children and adolescents can make their own independent experiences.
Mobility education in schools
Schools can approach the complex topic of mobility in a variety of ways. In teaching children mobility competencies, schools should focus on comprehensive cycling skills that can be practised and used in real-life situations.
Accident statistics show that the reasons for many accidents involving children are developmental. By enabling children and adolescents to actively explore and shape the environment or neighbourhood they live in, their specific mobility requirements can be considered by planners, and thus be met. The example of the city of Leipzig shows that including children into the planning process can be highly beneficial to the design of street environments. Schools also bear high responsibility as they provide children with the mobility competencies they require for their independent mobility.
Road safety training should be delivered in real-life situations enabling the children to draw on experiences in the learning process. Simultaneously, schools should take an interdisciplinary approach to mobility education and deal with environmental aspects of mode choices as well as with the impact transport has on individuals and the global environment.
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