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Evaluation of a bicycle skills training program for young children: a randomized controlled trial
  1. Colin Macarthur1,
  2. Patricia C Parkin2,
  3. Malak Sidky3,
  4. Will Wallace4
  1. 1Departments of Paediatrics and Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary
  2. 2Department of Paediatrics, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto
  3. 3SAFE KIDS Canada, Toronto
  4. 4Ontario Cycling Association, Toronto
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Colin Macarthur, Department of Community Health Sciences, Health Sciences Center, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 4N1(e-mail:colinmac{at}


Objective—To evaluate the effectiveness of a skills training program in improving safe cycling behavior, knowledge, and attitudes in young children.

Methods—Grade 4 children from six elementary schools in East York (a borough of Metropolitan Toronto) participated. The intervention—playground based instruction on bicycle handling skills by certified instructors—was randomly allocated to three schools. Altogether 141 children participated: 73 in the intervention group and 68 in the control group, with follow up evaluations available on 117 (83%). The primary outcome was safe cycling behavior (straight line riding, coming to a complete stop, and shoulder checking before a left turn). A self report questionnaire collected data on knowledge and attitudes. Baseline assessments were made in June, with follow up evaluations in September, 1995.

Results—The prevalence of safe cycling behaviors at follow up in the intervention and control groups respectively, were: straight line riding (90% v 88%; p=0.782), coming to a complete stop (90% v 76%; p=0.225), and shoulder checking (0% v 2%; p=1.000). Over time (from baseline to follow up) children in both groups were more likely to maintain straight line riding, less likely to ride on the sidewalk, and less likely to consider that a car had more right to the road.

Conclusions—This brief skills training program was not effective in improving safe cycling behavior, knowledge, or attitudes among grade 4 children.

  • bicycling
  • skills training
  • program evaluation
  • randomized controlled trials

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