Relationships amongst psychological determinants, risk behaviour, and road crashes of young adolescent pedestrians and cyclists : implications for road safety education programmes

D.A.M. Twisk*, J.J.F. Commandeur, W.P. Vlakveld, J.T. Shope, G. Kok

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Road safety education (RSE) assumes that psychological determinants predict risk behaviour, and subsequently that risky road behaviour predicts crash involvement. This study examined the validity of this assumption, by analysing these relationships in two age groups of teen cyclists and pedestrians: a younger age group (12 and 13 years old: n = 1372) and an older age group (14-16 years old: n = 938). A questionnaire was administered at school during regular class consisting of items on demographics, on risk behaviour based on the Generic Error Model System (GEMS), on psychological determinants targeted in RSE programmes, and on crash involvement and near crashes. For the younger age group, the results indicated that the risk behaviours 'errors', 'dangerous play', and 'lack of protective behaviour' predicted self-reported crashes; for the older age group only 'errors' were found to be predictive of self-reported crashes and near crashes. Path analyses confirmed that risk behaviour could be predicted from the psychological determinants, sharing respectively 44% of the variance in the younger age group and 34% in the older group. In conclusion, these results confirm the RSE assumption that psychological determinants are associated with a higher frequency of risk behaviours and that the latter are again associated with higher crash frequencies. Just as in earlier studies on adolescent risk behaviour, the GEMS based distinction between errors and violations was not confirmed, suggesting that this distinction - derived from studies on adult car drivers - may not apply to young adolescent cyclists and pedestrians. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-56
JournalTransportation Research Part F-Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Issue numberApril
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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