Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-01-0419

Speeds of Child Cyclists 2019-01-0419

Many published studies have characterized walking and running speeds of young children (e.g., Vaughan & Bain, 2000). However, there is a paucity of data on the cycling speeds of very young children (4 to 5 years old). Thompson et al. (1997) reported naturalistic observations of cycling speed for children and adults, but only 10% of their observations included children under the ages of 6. Other studies of children's cycling speeds exist, but include children of older ages (e.g., Briem et al., 2004). Furthermore, there is no data involving younger children who are still learning to ride bicycles, and consequently ride with training wheels. The purpose of this study was to obtain an estimate of cycling speed for boys and girls both who are learning to ride bicycles (i.e., younger children who still ride with training wheels) and who have already learned to ride bicycles (i.e., slightly older children who no longer use training wheels). A sample of 32 child riders (17 boys, 15 girls; 17 four-year-olds who still ride with training wheels, 15 five-year-olds who do not) were asked to ride a short pre-defined distance at their usual speed when riding, and again at their highest speed. We found that while age and experience can differentiate riders, there were only small differences between boys' and girls' speeds in either age group. These descriptive results can be used in various applications from traffic engineering to accident reconstruction.


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