SafeBike - a road safety programme for young adolescent cyclists
Authors: Franz Lambrecht, Carsten Sommer
Abstract: In 2019, approximately 29,000 children (up to 15 years of age) were involved in road traffic accidents in Germany. The cohorts with the most accident victims are the 11- to 14-year-olds, about half of whom (approx. 6,000 children) were involved in accidents by bicycle. The number of cyclists involved in accidents rises sharply after the transition from primary to secondary school. This is due to a change in driving behavior after the change of school compared to the primary school period. Many pupils start cycling to school after changing to secondary school. Furthermore, extensive behavioral changes occur with the onset of puberty, which, for example, increases the willingness to take risks in road traffic. SafeBike is a road safety program for the particularly vulnerable target group of 11 to 14-year-old cyclists based on observation procedures, self-reflection and personal responsibility. The basic aim of SafeBike is to raise students' awareness of danger perception when cycling, leading to an increased sense of safety in the short term, so that in the long term the number of cycling accidents in the target group will decrease. After participating in the program, students are expected to be more critical of their own behavior, among other things. SafeBike consists of three components: a self-assessment of one's own driving behavior in terms of safety, the treatment of several subject areas in which driving errors and traffic conflicts occur more frequently, and a final re-assessment of one's own driving behavior.The traffic effects of the program were surveyed and evaluated in a pilot test at two different schools in Germany. In the post-surveys, the test group committed about 50% fewer traffic conflicts and driving errors than the control group, which attests to the very high short-term effectiveness of SafeBike. In the control group, who did not complete the program, no significant improvements occurred in comparison to the before survey, in contrast to the subject group. In the test group, there were significant positive effects, especially in the case of driving errors that occurred particularly frequently in the pre-surveys and were correspondingly addressed in the program and discussed by the students. Particularly high positive effects were achieved with conversations while driving, at the pedestrian crossing and using the pavement on the wrong side of the road. Medium effects were achieved with hand signals and looking around. This means that the road safety program can be used in road safety education throughout the country. However, long-term effects are not yet available and must be determined in further studies.
Keywords: road safety, safety education, human factors in transportation, cycling safety, riding errors, driving behaviour
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